Today I came across a job posting for several FW/SW devleoper positions in a company (the job location is supposed to be in Canada). However, the job posting and job descriptions are entirely in another language.

In Canada most of the job postings are in English (and some times in French, as we are a bilingual country) but this particular job posting was entirely written in a Third language. I just could see words Linux, ARM, ... in it.

I can understand that if a company does a lot of business with a non-English speaking country puts the "Familiarity with Language XYZ as an asset" but I don't understand the reason for posting the entire job description in another language.

Isn't it an obvious discrimination?

  • 1
    You may want to remove the connotations to legality in the title. Otherwise the question will most likely be closed due to the asking for legal advice – Draken Mar 15 '17 at 17:17
  • 1
    What is your goal here? Do you want to hunt them down legally if you find out that this is discrimination? Are you even interested in applying for the job? Besides I don't understand why you care for this so much. People posting a job description in a non-local language either have a good reason for doing so or they would just make it incredibly hard for themselves to get good (any?) candidates. If it is the latter, it is their problem, not yours, so just move on. – Masked Man Mar 15 '17 at 17:33
  • @MaskedMan, that's a very good question! I'm not interested in the job posting and I am guessing even if I was and I could pass all the interviews, the atmosphere would be a nightmare. The reason I asked is I'm just curious! – AleX_ Mar 15 '17 at 17:47
  • Isn't it an obvious discrimination? - No. – Brandin Mar 15 '17 at 19:36
  • No it's not, apply for the job if you want it. – Kilisi Mar 16 '17 at 5:24

Is it mandatory in Canada to only speak one of the two languages? No, then it's most likely not illegal to post a job advert in another language (You'll have to ask a Canadian lawyer to confirm, we can't give out legal advice here). If anything, it helps prevent people applying who don't have a full grasp of the language required for the job.

It would only be considered discrimination if you didn't require the language to work there, but I doubt that.

You're of course more than welcome to apply, no-one is stopping you. But they've put the language barrier there for a reason. If they take you for an interview and find you can't speak a required language, then you've wasted their time and yours.

They don't want someone familiar with the language, they want someone who is fluent in the language. It happens all the time in Europe, I live in a multilingual country where the two main languages are German and French. But that doesn't stop job adverts appearing in Luxembourgish, English, Portuguese, etc.

Sometimes the language is required and not just a nice to have, thus putting this natural barrier in front will make sure they are more likely to find someone fit for the job.

  • It can be jusstified for some specific jobs, lets say if a German company wants to hire a consultant to deal with Portuguese clients to post the job in that language. Or if a Quebec company needs Engineers to post a job in French, Or if a Chinese restaurant needs front-end servers. In this case it seems that the company owners don't even care to learn the official language and want to be comfortable all the time. – AleX_ Mar 15 '17 at 17:22
  • 1
    @AleX_ That's their prerogative to take, there's no rule that when you move to another country you must learn their language. It helps, but isn't required. They are trying to find someone who fits into their needs and they need someone who can speak that language. If they can't find someone suitable, they may broaden their requirements and allow people who cannot speak the language. But since they are hosting the job, they can dictate what they need for the job, within reason. Nvoigt put it well by stating it's a skill that can be learnt – Draken Mar 15 '17 at 17:29
  • 1
    @Draken "There's no rule that when you move to another country you must learn their language." Actually, there's at least one country where exactly that is the rule ;-) Doesn't mean they can't post a job ad in their language, though... – AllTheKingsHorses Mar 16 '17 at 11:50

Isn't it an obvious discrimination?

Unlawful discrimination happens when you discriminate based on an attribute that the person cannot change and that is not relevant to the job. Like Age, gender, skin color, religious belief (you could argue this, but...), disabilities etc.

A language is a skill. You can learn a language if you want to. Companies are allowed to discriminate based on the fact that somebody can or cannot program in C++ and they are allowed to discriminate based on whether someone can speak a language. I see no easier test than having the job ad in said language.

  • Thanks for the reply but whats wrong with posting the ad in an official language and stating "Proficiency in XYZ language is a definite asset because ABC reason (e.g. the job requires liaison with international vendors)" – AleX_ Mar 15 '17 at 17:27
  • 3
    @AleX_ There's nothing wrong with that. But there's nothing wrong with how they did it either. There would be nothing wrong with having both. Your question was whether it's discriminating. It's not. It's their (artistic) freedom. They could hire a clown that's making balloon figures in shapes of a job ad in mandarin and it would be fine, too. There is no government regulation on how a job ad must look like or which language it has to use. – nvoigt Mar 15 '17 at 17:36
  • How did u guess the Mandarin thing? Lol! That gave me a chuckle! – AleX_ Mar 15 '17 at 17:45
  • What if they just like speaking that language? Liaison doesn't matter. But if the whole team speaks X, and you don't... – Brandin Mar 15 '17 at 19:37

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .