The job ad that was too much of a ‘hit’; IT workers refuse to implement staff monitoring

In this week's HR news round-up, a spoof job ad could land one respondent in very hot water; plus why IT staff aren't playing ball with staff monitoring requests

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Apr 21, 2023
This article is part of a series called The Most Interesting HR Stories of the Week.

The recruitment ad that proved to be too much of a ‘hit’

A spoof recruitment ad, which said it was looking for a professional hit man could land one responder to ten years in jail. The parody website – – saw American, Josiah Garcia apply for it, after thinking it was real. Garcia was swiftly arrested by federal agents, and according to an affidavit filed in federal court, Garcia claimed he was an excellent marksman, having previously been in the military. Garcia initially submitted his employment application in February, and sent several follow-up emails over the next month. In response to the question “Why I want this job,” he said: “I’m looking for a job, that pays well, related to my military experience (shooting and killing the marked target), so I can support my kid on the way. What can I say, I enjoy doing what I do, so if I can find a job that is similar to it, (such as this one) put me in coach!” The site was originally created in 2005, to advertise a cyber security company that never took off. However, it has continued to receive many inquiries over the years. If convicted, Garcia faces up to ten years in prison, according to a news release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee.

IT departments don’t want to implement employee monitoring tech

Companies cannot count on the willingness of their IT staff to implement employee monitoring software, according to new research by digital experience company, 1E. It finds that nearly three in four (73%) of IT managers say they would not be comfortable instructing their team members to deploy such technology, especially if the company is not being fully transparent about why it is being implemented in the first place. Meanwhile, the polling also found that more than a quarter of IT workers (27%) would raise concerns with leadership before complying with a request to deploy such technology, while 5% would outright refuse. Even after surveillance technology is deployed, IT workers indicate they have a strong desire to defy company policy to inform colleagues about it, with some 72% admitting they would even help coworkers find workarounds.

Supreme Court to look into Sunday working laws

The Supreme Court has begun deliberating whether religious workers are more legally deserving than those who are not to have weekend off from work. The court will consider this after former evangelical Christian, Gerald Groff, decided to take his claim against the US Postal Service further. Groff, a former mail carrier in Pennsylvania, is appealing a lower court’s decision for religious discrimination, after the Postal Service refused to exempt him from working on Sundays, when he observes the Christian Sabbath. Groff sued after being disciplined for repeatedly failing to show up when assigned a Sunday work shift. “The whole point of religious accommodation is you have to make special or favored arrangements in order to have an inclusive workforce,” said Alan Reinach, one of Groff’s attorneys. Boston University School of Law employment law expert, Michael Harper, said that a ruling favoring Groff could “give a preference to the religious because they get to stay home on their Sabbath or their day of rest” that would be denied to nonreligious people.

GM fined over discriminatory hiring practices

Car giant, GM, has been ordered to pay $365,000 in civil penalties after the Department of Justice (DOJ) found it “unnecessarily required lawful permanent residents to provide an unexpired foreign passport as a condition of employment, imposing a discriminatory barrier on them in the hiring process.” Although the fine doesn’t force the auto-maker into admitting any wrongdoing, it will need to train staff around they treat non-US workers, including providing training on the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It also means GM can no longer require the presentation of foreign passports as a condition of employment. Assistant attorney general, Kristen Clarke, of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said that: “When employers commit unlawful discrimination, the Civil Rights Division will continue holding them accountable. The Civil Rights Division is issuing a new fact sheet to help educate employers and promote greater compliance with anti-discrimination law going forward.” The initial investigation dates back to 2019.

Coca-Cola bottlers go on strike over working conditions

Workers at the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in North Philadelphia this week went on strike to protest against low pay and unsafe working conditions, according to reports. News outlets suggest that the 300+ workers employed at the plant have long complained about malfunctioning equipment and a lack of safety precautions at their workplaces, as well as the fact that they are “routinely expected” to work overtime without receiving additional compensation or even a meal break. Coca-Cola has published a statement in reaction to the walkout, promising to address the workers’ concerns. The corporation has stated its willingness to negotiate with the union representing the employees. A return to work, however, has been ruled out until the employees’ demands are met. Staff say they have complained to managers multiple times about conditions at the plant, but they are striking because their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

EY blames ‘over-capacity’ in job cull

Much like Facebook, Google and Amazon before it, the latest big firm to announce swingeing job cuts is blaming ‘over-capacity.’ Consulting firm, EY, this week revealed 3,000 jobs are up for the chop, but said it was doing it to “eliminate over-capacity.” According to the FT, the cuts were announced less than a week after the collapse of a plan to spin off EY’s global consulting business into a new company, codenamed Project Everest. The announced redundancies will now account for about 5% of EY’s US workforce. EY is not the only consultancy to have wielded the knife. KPMG laid off 2% of its US staff in February and Accenture has said it will be cutting 2.6% of its global workforce by the middle of next year. According to the FT: “The Big Four accounting and consulting firms all went on a hiring spree during the recovery from the pandemic, struggling to keep up with the heavy volume of work and a greater than usual number of staff leaving.”

Nine in ten say they benefit from DEI initiatives

A massive 90% of US staff say they have benefited from DEI initiatives in the workplace, according to new research by Benevity. Amongst its other findings, the research also revealed that 66% of employees think their company should commit more time and resources to DEI initiatives, with 95% of them saying they would take a prospective employer’s DEI efforts into consideration when choosing between job offers with similar salaries and benefits. More than 90% of respondents said companies with strong DEI commitments are more trustworthy to customers and employees, while 87% agreed they’d feel more loyal to a company with a proven track record of prioritizing DEI. Respondents noted that employee resource groups/affinity groups help make the workplace more equitable and inclusive (97%), support employee well-being at work (93%), unify the workplace (92%), can have a greater impact on inclusivity than traditional DEI and unconscious bias training (91%) and contribute to a sense of community and belonging at work (88%).



This article is part of a series called The Most Interesting HR Stories of the Week.