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Job advert for 'reliable' worker hailed as discriminatory'

PUBLISHED: 15:58 27 January 2010 | UPDATED: 21:54 07 July 2010

A Norfolk job centre has come under fire after telling an employer they could not place an advert asking for “reliable” staff because it could exclude “unreliable” people.

A Norfolk job centre has come under fire after telling an employer they could not place an advert asking for "reliable" staff because it could exclude "unreliable" people.

Rob Garratt

A Norfolk job centre has come under fire after telling an employer they could not place an advert asking for "reliable" staff because it could exclude "unreliable" people.

A Norfolk job centre has come under fire after telling an employer they could not place an advert asking for “reliable” staff because it could exclude “unreliable” people.

Staff at the Jobcentre Plus in Thetford told a recruitment firm their ad was unacceptable for publication because it could cause offence.

Nicole Mamo, director of Devonwood Recruitment, was stunned when she was told her advert, which used the phrase “must be reliable and hard working, would not be used because of its potential to cause discrimination.

But a spokeswoman at the Job Centre has insisted despite staff's remarks the advert was published in an unaltered form.

The advert in question is for a £5.80-an-hour cleaning post at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

Ms Mamo, 48, who lives in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, filed the advert last Thursday and assumed it has been accepted, as hundreds of her job centre adverts across the south east have been before.

It was only when she rang back the centre at the beginning of this week to see if it had attracted any replies that she was told that the offending advert had been allowed on the service's website, but not on their on-store search system.

Ms Mamo, a mother of two who has worked in the recruitment trade for 15 years, added: “I spoke to a very nice lady who told me I couldn't say 'reliable' because it might offend the unreliable.

“I laughed, I just couldn't believe it, it's crazy; being a reputable agency we only want reliable people.

“I've been using jobcentres for years but never had a problem like this before.”

A spokeswoman for the Jobcentre Plus said she was unable to comment on the conversation between Ms Mamo and the staff member.

She added: “Reliability is important to employers, as it is for Jobcentre Plus - and we welcome ads seeking reliable applicants.

“The advert in question went live on the Jobcentre Plus website when the employer placed it and in Jobcentres via Jobpoints, worded exactly as the employer requested.”

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