​A Toronto company is inviting legal trouble with an ad specifically seeking female applicants because the job involves receptionist work, says Stacey Ball.

Toronto Company’s Sexist Job Posting Seeking Female for ‘Receptionist’ Duties Sparks Ridicule Online

A job ad by web design company Vestra Inet seeking female applicants to fill a receptionist position has sparked heated arguments online. The ad was posted nearly 3 weeks ago and has invited a lot of criticism. According to Toronto employment lawyer Stacey Ball, the company might get into legal trouble.

The Toronto company was looking for a content writer and SEO specialist. It further adds a more detailed list of required qualifications, specifying “The position requires filling in the responsibilities of a receptionist, so female candidates are preferred,” according to the Company’s LinkedIn profile.

A few days after the posting, Vestra Inet’s Linkedin profile was filled with outraged comments and annoyed Twitter users reacted as well. Following online outrage, Vestra Inet pulled down the controversial advertisement from its LinkedIn page on Monday afternoon and posted a statement addressing the controversy.

The statement read in parts, “Several individuals have found the wording of the ad to be offensive, and we want to assure everyone that we did not mean to discriminate against any particular gender or group. Vestra Inet is a company that believes in promoting diversity. Our staff currently consists of employees of various genders and ethnicities. Above all, Vestra Inet values knowledge and talent.”

According to the company’s representative, the organization’s staff is predominantly male and they posted the job ad to have more women represented within the web design company. According to Ontario’s Human Rights Commission, job ads targeting a certain gender are a form of discrimination.

Stacey Ball says that an ad specifically seeking female applicants, especially receptionist work, could result in a lawsuit or human rights complaint. According to the Toronto employment lawyer, this kind of ad was popular in the 1950s-1970s, but today, it’s not socially acceptable and can raise a legal issue. Mr. Ball added that you can’t discriminate against someone just because they’re a male – an employee could seek $30,000-$50,000 in general damages.

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