Applicant claims she was denied job because she didn’t speak certain languages

Job posting didn’t specify language requirement but applicant said she was told she needed to speak Hindi or Punjabi to work at Brampton hospital

Controversy has arisen over the hiring practices of the William Osler Health Centre, a new hospital in Brampton, Ont., after an applicant for a nursing position was apparently turned down because she couldn’t speak Hindi or Punjabi.

The unidentified woman applied for the position of registered nurse by fax after seeing it posted on the job site She was soon contacted by someone at the health centre and asked if she could speak any languages other than English. She replied she spoke French. The caller then asked her if she spoke Hindi or Punjabi. When she said she couldn’t, the caller said they were only hiring staff that could speak the language of the population they were serving. Brampton has a large South Asian population and provides services in the languages of that region.

The applicant was surprised as the job posting didn’t specify any language requirements, which, unless proven to be a reasonable requirement for the position, would be a human rights violation because it might prevent people from applying for a job.

The health centre told the Brampton Guardian it had a program which focused on the South Asian population but other than that, speaking Hindi or Punjabi isn’t a requirement for positions there and the applicant shouldn’t have been turned down because of language.

Latest stories