The Democratic National Committee is hiring new IT people. That's normal and probably good, given their computer problems over the past while. However, Madeleine Leader, the Democratic National Committee Data Services Manager, added a very illegal request to her inhouse email: 

I personally would prefer that you not forward to cisgender straight white males, since they're already in the majority.

The term "cisgender," which is becoming more widely used, means a person's gender identity corresponds to his or her assigned sex at birth. I reached out to the DNC to ask for a response and have not heard back. I attempted to contact Ms. Leader directly, but her LinkedIn page has been taken down. (I cannot verify why or when it was taken down.)

So, here's the thing: You can't do this. Not legally, anyway. It's important to note that this is not DNC hiring policy, but one hiring manager gone rogue. 

You can say we want to have a diverse staff, but you can't single out a group that you don't wish to hire. Legally, how affirmative action is supposed to work is that if you have two equally qualified candidate then you can give the job to the person from the minority group. It doesn't mean you don't consider straight, white males. 

People often email me and say, "we have this employee who has done A, B, and C, and we'd really like to terminate him but he's a member of a protected class."  Newsflash: Every human on the planet is a member of a protected class.

The law doesn't protect Black people, but not White. It doesn't say, "you can't hire all White females, but you can hire all Latino males."  You can fire a black, lesbian, 43-year-old pregnant immigrant. What you cannot do is fire her because she's black, lesbian, over 40, pregnant, or an immigrant.

Likewise, with hiring. You already know that you can't say "we're only looking for white males," so you can put together that you can't say "we're only looking for non-white candidates." 

The law is, everyone should be judged on their abilities. There are a few times when gender--but never race--can be taken into account with hiring if it is a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ). For example, you can advertise for male models to model your male clothing. There's no reason an IT person needs to be any particular gender, so refusing to consider male candidates, of any race, is illegal.

So, train your hiring managers that they have to truly be equal opportunity hiring managers, which means they consider all candidates based on qualifications and ability to do the actual job and nothing else. 

Published on: Nov 1, 2017