Brooklyn Community Board 8 members got a message yesterday via the District Manager, Michelle George:
I was just informed that the Barclays Center is looking to hire 100 Customer Service Representatives between the ages of 18-30. An orientation meeting will be held on Monday, August 22, 2011. There will be a 7 week training program beginning September 6, 2011. If you know someone who is interested, please email, fax or call the district office with the name and telephone number before 5pm today (August 18, 2011). (No criminal record)Out of bounds?
While this was not exactly a job advertisement, it struck me as questionable to specify age and no criminal record.
Indeed, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says:
An age limit may only be specified in the rare circumstance where age has been proven to be a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).Also, the Legal Action Center states:
The New York State Human Rights Law states that an applicant may not be denied employment or licensure because of his or her conviction record unless there is a direct relationship between the offense and the job or license sought, or unless hiring or licensure would create an unreasonable risk to property or to public or individual safety.Wrong info?
"This is not accurate," Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco responded, when I asked him for more info about the program and whether it was appropriate to specify age and criminal record. "Apparently they sent you wrong info. It is, I think, the build [BUILD] job training program but it would be open to all eligible people."
I also contacted Community Benefits Agreement signatory BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development) but didn't hear back yesterday.
DePlasco's comment was curious because I had earlier in the week received information very similar to that circulated by CB8 via another source.
That source, citing language different to that used by CB8, called the application process a word-of-mouth affair and said there's no guarantee those going through the training program would be hired.
So if the information I shared with DePlasco indeed was inaccurate, it had already been circulated significantly.
It's unclear whether these are full-time or part-time jobs, and when they would start, though presumably a seven-week training program would mean the jobs would begin in September or October.
It's also unclear what the job entails, such as taking phone orders.
If those hiring did want--explicitly or quietly--to exclude those with criminal records, why might that be? It could simply be a sorting mechanism; this low-skill job, which may not have minimum education requirements, might attract thousands, and one quick way to cull applicants would be to eliminate those with criminal records.
What about an age limit? That seems arbitrary--why would a 31-year-old be less qualified than a 29-year-old? However, if the job doesn't pay well--say, the hourly wage is relatively low and the position not full-time--perhaps it might be more acceptable to younger people who are less likely to have families to support.
The above two paragraphs, obviously, contain a fair amount of speculation. And, according to DePlasco, there's no plan for an age limit and exclusion of those with criminal records.