No Hindi, no Punjabi, no job

Woman says she was denied job interview because she doesn't speak a South Asian language

A woman who applied for a job with a new hospital in Brampton, Ont., was denied an interview because she doesn't speak Hindi or Punjabi.

Unlike race or religion, language can be a bona fide job requirement and as such asking a candidate questions about her language skills doesn't contravene her human rights.

However, according to the woman who applied for a job as a registered nurse, the posting on job site didn’t mention a language requirement.

Instead, she only found out about the language requirement when someone from William Osler Health Centre contacted her about her application and asked her if she spoke any other languages.

When she said she only spoke English and French, she was told the hospital was only hiring staff that could speak the language of the population it was serving.

According to census data, Brampton's South Asian population nearly doubled from 34,000 in 1996 to 63,000 in 2001, at which point they made up 19 per cent of the city's population.

A hospital spokesperson said the hospital's diabetes education program has a South Asian program where Hindi or Punjabi is a job requirement, but that requirement should have been included in the job posting.

She added the hospital doesn't have a hiring policy that favours one specific ethnic group.

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