FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Monster.com

by DOKHI FASSIHIAN

On April 24, Monster.com, the world’s largest online job search and career management company, will delete the word “Iran,” along with the names of six other countries–Burma/Myanmar, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria–from its standard format for resumes. According to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the U.S. government has not encouraged Monster to make this decision and does not find it necessary.

In addition to the change to the resumes, individuals and organizations with addresses in these countries will be dropped from Monster’s website. Resumes with addresses inside Iran or any of the other countries will be taken down, and employers with an address in any of these countries will no longer be able to use Monster’s hiring services. International organizations such as the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, and foreign companies with addresses in these countries will not be exempt, and will no longer be able to use Monster’s employment services.

In a form letter dated April 18, and emailed to job seekers with the names of these countries in their resumes, Monster states:

“The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, as well as some states, maintain sanctions which prohibit U.S. companies from conducting certain business activities with organizations located in or residents of the following countries… In order for Monster to comply with applicable U.S. federal and state regulations, we will be removing the Sanctioned Countries from the site. Your resume included one (or more) of the Sanctioned Countries. Therefore, your resume will be altered, removing all Sanctioned Countries from your resume(s).”

On April 21, Kendra Morley, a Monster customer service representative explained the policy to the National Iranian American Council (NIAC): “We are simply taking the names of these countries off our site. We can’t have references to these particular countries. Our legal Department found it in Monster’s best interest to take those references out.”

A Monster.com user in the United States, who in 1994 received a Bachelor of Science degree from Iran University of Science Technology, received the April 18 notification. Monster’s customer service department advised him to move that information, currently under “Education,” to the “Other Skills” section of his resume because that section “is not searchable.” He was also told that Monster decided to take the step as a protective measure from the U.S. Department of Treasury. After contacting the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the individual was informed that no directive or regulation from OFAC required Monster to take such action.

Founded in 1994 by Monster Chairman Jeff Taylor, the company describes itself as “the leading global careers network on the internet.” It maintains sites in 22 countries, almost all in Europe, cites millions of job seekers, over a million job postings, and profiles of 130,000 employers.

“My Monster,” a free service for job seekers, allows individuals to create and post a detailed resume profile on Monster’s website to be searched by employers worldwide. It requires users to type the contents of already existing resumes into a standardized Monster format. As a result of the company’s new policy, the names of the specified sanctioned countries can no longer appear as an official location on Monster resumes.

According to Monster, the new policy is not censorship. The company says it will not be scanning resumes for words and deleting them arbitrarily, rather, the sanctioned countries will be taken out of Monster’s standard drop down format of countries–this, Monster alleges, is to prevent Iranian employers and individuals from putting up profiles and listings on Monster’s website.

So, after April 24, Indonesia will be directly followed by Iraq, Norfolk Island by Northern Mariana Islands, and Croatia by Cyprus. The seven countries will basically disappear from the country lists in the “Candidate Information,” “Education,” and “Target Locations” sections of Monster resumes. In other words, if you happen to live in Iran, if you studied in Iran, or if you want to live and work in Iran, Monster will not help you.

So what do you do if at one point you’ve lived, studied, or worked in one of these countries? According to Monster, there are “work arounds.” Users can manually type in the names of these countries in other areas. For example, they can be listed in “Other Skills” or in the “Experience” and “Education” sections normally designated for descriptions of the work or study an individual conducted. Oddly, the only thing that can’t be done is to list the names of these countries as actual locations.

For employers or job seekers with addresses in the sanctioned countries, no “work arounds” exist. A young Iranian living in Iran cannot use Monster to find job opportunities in the U.S.–or anywhere else in the world for that matter. Neither can a Dane, a Frenchman, or an Indian seeking work in one of the sanctioned countries.

So why is Monster isolating seven countries, and alienating seven ethnic communities from its business activities and from the global job market? It claims that as a business, it is required to do so to be in compliance with U.S. regulations. But OFAC disputed this assertion. Darryl Bailey, an OFAC information specialist, was adamant that Monster’s actions were unrelated to the sanctions program. “We have nothing to do with that,” said Bailey. “The Treasury Department is not, I repeat, NOT advising Monster to do this.”

OFAC’s compliance department reiterated Bailey’s claim. “This is a false reading of the sanctions program,” a compliance officer said. “Someone can be denied a job this way. I can assure you of the position of OFAC. [Profiling and discrimination] is not the intent of the sanctions. These companies are deviating from their purposes, and I strongly suggest they confer with legal counsel here before they use the U.S. government as a bookmark for their own purposes.”

Monster’s director of legal affairs, Donna Guilmette, however, assured NIAC that her office was in contact with OFAC, and that a specialist there, along with outside counsel, had confirmed that Monster’s actions were, indeed, necessary to be in compliance with the sanctions program. “[Matching job seekers with companies] was deemed to be a facilitation of business activity,” Guilmette told NIAC. “We are trying to comply. We are not trying to be discriminatory.”

On April 22, NIAC held a conference call with Guilmette and OFAC Sanctions Monitoring Specialist Zack Woodyard. Woodyard described Monster’s decision to remove residents of Iran from its website in order to stay in compliance as a “good idea,” but stopped short of stating that the action was advised or required by OFAC. Woodyard also expressed that he didn’t think Monster should remove Iran from the drop down box in the “Education” section of its resumes. “It has no relevance at all if someone got an education in Iran,” Woodyard said.

Guilmette described that as a “technical glitch” since Monster’s format is standardized throughout its site. She was unable to promise that Monster would find a way around it due to costs. When asked, however, about citizens and nationals of other countries living in Iran, Guilmette said Monster would make every effort to find a way around that issue as long as the affected person called and described their situation. This, before Woodyard clarified that the U.S. Code prohibited any U.S. entity from exporting a good to any person or entity residing in Iran. Guilmette quickly retracted Monster’s offer to make those exceptions for nationals of other countries.

Monster’s move raises many legal and ethical questions that must be answered in the days to come.

1. Is it ethnic profiling, censorship, and discrimination to prohibit job seekers from listing Iran and other countries as locations in the world?

2. Does Monster violate the rights to information exchange, exempt from sanctions, of residents of these countries? Since the company draws no revenue from job seekers, what business transaction is being conducted with individuals seeking access to international job information? For example, an Iranian information technology expert living in Iran and seeking employment in Canada. Or a Spaniard working as a journalist in Iran and looking for employment in the United States?

3. Finally, what drove Monster to make this change now? Currently, U.S. companies are allowed to offer individuals living in Iran employment in the U.S. and sponsor their work visas. If this transaction is legal under the current sanction code, how could information exchange that enables Iranian youth to find potential employers in the U.S. be deemed a violation of the sanctions? Thus far, no other online employment agencies (www.careerbuilder.com, www.hotjobs.com) have followed Monster’s lead.

It remains to be seen if Monster’s policy, which analysts deem to be excessive, will remain an exception or if it will become common practice in Corporate America in the near future. However one interprets the U.S. sanctions policy, it wasn’t the U.S. government that knocked on Monster’s door. Monster just decided to open it.

 

 

More articles by:
July 27, 2016
Richard Moser
The Party’s Over
M. G. Piety
Smoke and Mirrors in Philadelphia
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Humiliation Games: Notes on the Democratic Convention
Arun Gupta
Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution Splinters Apart
John Eskow
The Loneliness of the American Leftist
Guillermo R. Gil
A Metaphoric Short Circuit: On Michelle Obama’s Speech at the DNC
Norman Pollack
Sanders, Our Tony Blair: A Defamation of Socialism
Claire Rater, Carol Spiegel and Jim Goodman
Consumers Can Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics on Factory Farms
Guy D. Nave
Make America Great Again?
Sam Husseini
Why Sarah Silverman is a Comedienne
Dave Lindorff
No Crooked Sociopaths in the White House
Dan Bacher
The Hired Gun: Jerry Brown Snags Bruce Babbitt as New Point Man For Delta Tunnels
Peter Lee
Trumputin! And the DNC Leak(s)
David Macaray
Interns Are Exploited and Discriminated Against
Ann Garrison
Rwanda, the Clinton Dynasty, and the Case of Dr. Léopold Munyakazi
Brett Warnke
Storm Clouds Over Philly
Chris Zinda
Snakes of Deseret
July 26, 2016
Andrew Levine
Pillory Hillary Now
Kshama Sawant
A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!
Russell Mokhiber
The Rabble Rise Together Against Bernie, Barney, Elizabeth and Hillary
Jeffrey St. Clair
Don’t Cry For Me, DNC: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Angie Beeman
Why Doesn’t Middle America Trust Hillary? She Thinks She’s Better Than Us and We Know It
Paul Street
An Update on the Hate…
Fran Shor
Beyond Trump vs Clinton
Ellen Brown
Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Richard W. Behan
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy Be Damned
Binoy Kampmark
Undermining Bernie Sanders: the DNC Campaign, WikiLeaks and Russia
Arun Gupta
Trickledown Revenge: the Racial Politics of Donald Trump
Sen. Bernard Sanders
What This Election is About: Speech to DNC Convention
David Swanson
DNC Now Less Popular Than Atheism
Linn Washington Jr.
‘Clintonville’ Reflects True Horror of Poverty in US
Deepak Tripathi
Britain in the Doldrums After the Brexit Vote
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Threats: Arbitrary Lines on Political Maps
Robert J. Gould
Proactive Philanthropy: Don’t Wait, Reach Out!
Victor Grossman
Horror and Sorrow in Germany
Nyla Ali Khan
Regionalism, Ethnicity, and Trifurcation: All in the Name of National Integration
Andrew Feinberg
The Good TPP
400 US Academics
Letter to US Government Officials Concerning Recent Events in Turkey
July 25, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
Ted Rall
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans
William K. Black
Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine
Russell Mokhiber
Bernie Delegates Take on Bernie Sanders
Quincy Saul
Resurgent Mexico
Andy Thayer
Letter to a Bernie Activist
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan is Strengthened by the Failed Coup, But Turkey is the Loser
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail