Global staffing company ISS is in hot water after its Norwegian cleaning staff branch advertised a job, calling for “ethnic Norwegians” only. ISS Renhold argued it’s merely a security clearance issue, but the Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombudsman said it clearly breaks the law.
The job, advertised on the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) website, seeks a “responsible cleaning person” for a position in Lillehammer. “The client requires security clearance and the position is therefore possible only for ethnic Norwegian people,” it reads, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
Equality Ombudsman Sunniva Ørstavik said the ad blatantly violates discrimination laws. “It’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, and that’s what this ad does,” she said. “What kind of background you have has nothing to do with the qualifications to get a job.” She hoped it was just a misunderstanding, but said she’d follow through with ISS to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
ISS spokesman Jan Bjørneboe said some clients require cleaners to have security clearance. It’s a long process, so recently arrived workers lack the approvals. “We have had the same formulation for 28 years, but that doesn’t say we don’t want foreign language workers,” he justified. “But as this has created such a stir, we must look at the way we explain ourselves in the future.”