"We have Filipino maids!" announced one Instagram ad, aimed at wealthy expats in the Middle East who may want to hire a live-in housekeeper. This ad wasn't aimed at job seekers (although it certainly would discourage non-Filipinos from applying for a job), but many job postings show just as much bias and prejudice for specific groups. 

It's illegal, in the United States, to consider race and/or ethnicity when hiring, but that's not the case in the entire world. Additionally, in the U.S., employers cannot discriminate on the basis of national origin--if you're legal to work, you're authorized to work, whether you're a U.S. citizen or a Green Card holder. A private business can't say, "U.S. citizens only!" But, in many countries, citizens legally get first dibs on jobs.

With global websites like the big networking and recruiting sites LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed come lots of rules and regulations that vary from country to country and lots of companies that sneak in illegal advertisements.

And people like to send them to me--which I love. (Please, feel free to send screenshots and links of illegal job postings to EvilHRLady@gmail.com.) A friend sent me a LinkedIn post that stated "Caucasians preferred," for instance. Cynet took that down and issued an apology.

When a person shared a job posting on LinkedIn from a Chinese company for a job in Germany, asking for someone under 40, my head exploded. This is illegal in Germany, but I have no idea what the rules are in China. And I wondered how any site could keep up with this, so I asked.

I wanted to know how the big job posting sites could keep this stuff off their sites--and obviously, they don't do it perfectly. So I asked LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor what they do. And while they all say they don't allow illegal and discriminatory job postings, they also rely heavily on end users to flag this information.

LinkedIn says:

Our teams use a multitude of tools and systems to proactively monitor content and identify activity that may be in violation of our policies. This is also constantly evolving and changing to ensure we continue to become more sophisticated.

When we identify offensive, discriminatory or potentially fraudulent job postings through our own systems, we block these job postings from being shown to any members on LinkedIn in the first place. Additionally, we encourage members to report anything discriminatory or offensive. To do so they can 1. Click on a job title to go to the Job Details page. 2. Click the More icon and select Report This Job from the dropdown. 3. In the Why Are You Reporting This? pop-up window, select "I think it's discriminatory or offensive." Member reported jobs are also reviewed by human reviewers.

Glassdoor says:

Our Terms of Use state: "You may not post any job ad that ... Discriminates against applicants on the basis of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or any other ground(s) prohibited by applicable law, in each case as determined in Glassdoor's reasonable discretion."

We don't provide details on our technological and human detection and monitoring protocols because doing so puts the integrity of our processes at risk.

Indeed says:

Indeed's mission is to help people get jobs, and the quality of the job advertisements posted by third parties on our site is central to our mission. Indeed has a team dedicated to the Search Quality effort, and employs a variety of techniques to review job advertisements to determine their suitability. Indeed reserves the right to remove any job postings that do not meet our standards and we encourage job seekers to report any suspect job advertisements to us, or if they feel it necessary, to make a report to the police. Job seekers should never agree to send payment to a potential employer, and charging fees is a violation of Indeed's rules for companies posting on our site. We encourage job seekers to review our Guidelines for Safe Job Search.

While there is technology involved, it's mainly up to you to notice problems with job postings. If you're not familiar with employment law, you may not know that it's illegal to exclude people over 40 and thus exclude yourself. While you may say "I don't want to work for any company that doesn't want me" (and that's logical), it also allows the company to continue. Anyone writing a job posting should have a good enough grasp on employment law not to blatantly discriminate.

When you encounter an illegal posting, report it. But, first, send it to me. 

Published on: Aug 8, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.