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'Female Candidates Preferred:' Toronto Company Forgets It's 2015 with Receptionist Listing

Vestra Inet said Monday it "did not mean to discriminate against any particular gender or group" in its job ad, which drew widespread condemnation online.
Image via retrospace

The wrath of the internet descended on a small web design company which posted a position for a writing job, and indicated "female candidates are preferred" because the job includes receptionist duties.

Vestra Inet, which bills itself as a "premier Toronto web design company," posted the job description on LinkedIn two weeks ago. But it wasn't until Monday that it drew notice on social media, which excoriated the firm for antiquated views that belong in another decade.


The official job description, which calls for a content writer and a SEO specialist to join a "dynamic team," outlines a number of written and social media skills, noting that proficiency in Russian is a plus.

It ends with: "Please note that the position requires filling in the responsibilities of a receptionist, so female candidates are preferred."

This is an actual job posting for — Hannah Rose Pratt (@HannahRosePratt)November 23, 2015

In a tweet on Monday, the company said it "did not mean to discriminate against any particular gender or group" in the ad.

But the posting drew widespread condemnation nonetheless, with critics denouncing it as sexist, offensive, and against the law.

Vestra Inet did not mean to discriminate against any particular gender or group in our job ad. We believe in promoting diversity.

— Vestra Inet (@Vestra_Inet)November 23, 2015

"It's not merely politically incorrect in terms of typecasting people into certain gender roles, but the (Ontario) Human Rights Code makes it illegal to advertise based on gender," labor and employment lawyer Howard Levitt told the Toronto Star. "It's simply out of touch and out of legal reality in 2015, or even for that matter 1995."

Further to my last tweet, it's unbelievable that companies still think they can state a gender preference in their job ads. — Renegade Planner (@renegadeplanner)November 23, 2015

How not to write a job desc. It's 2015 in Toronto and a digital co. — Sarah Angela Nacario (@SARAHANGELA_N)November 23, 2015


Really hoping this isn't real…— Kirstine Stewart (@kirstinestewart)November 23, 2015

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made headlines for naming the first gender parity cabinet in Canadian history. Asked at his swearing in why he chose to do so, he said, "because it's 2015."

Related: 'Because It's 2015': Why Justin Trudeau Pushed for Gender Parity in His Cabinet

A receptionist at Vestra Inet declined to comment when reached by phone by VICE News. "We don't give any comments," the woman said. "We're not authorized."

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