Are you ‘mainstream,’ ‘clean-cut’? P…
Are you ‘mainstream,’ ‘clean-cut’? Probably not by the exacting standards of Rick Scott, the messianic enthusiast of privatized healthcare who is leading a group called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights against Obama’s healthcare reform right now.
After the attacks on Sept. 11, Yarian says that Scott phoned him and stated that he should be careful not to hire anyone of Middle Eastern descent because they might scare off customers. At the time, Yarian was willing to excuse the directive as part of the collective shock the country was going through.
In November, though, Yarian interviewed a Hispanic man for a supervisory nurse position. “He was great. He had all the qualities and experience I was after,” Yarian says. “But he had a slight accent. When Rick found out, he said, ‘Nope. All our employees have to be mainstream.’”
(The EEOC’s Lisser zeroed in on that word when I mentioned it. “We at the EEOC would want to carefully check out a company that expressly stated a hiring guideline specifying ‘mainstream’ people,” she says. “We’ve seen ‘mainstream’ and ‘clean-cut’ used as code words to discriminate based on race and national origin before.”)