IBM has apologized after an engineer found racial slurs embedded in the company’s online job application page.
According to The Register, an engineer who was in the process of applying for a position through IBM’s website, clicked on a drop-down menu, which said: “please state your Ethnic group.”
The issue was that the choices in the drop-down menu were extremely offensive. The options asked applicants to choose from options like “yellow” and “mulatto,” both outdated words for an Asian person or a person with one white parent and one black parent.
Candidates could also identify as “Indigenous,” “Caucasian,” or “Black.”
Another engineer, who was searching their site for a job last week, posted a video of the menu issues on his Twitter, @RichParkNYC.
The drop-down asked him to identify from options including “yellow” and “colored.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When The Register examined the site, they found that the menu issue had been corrected, but there was still evidence of the issue in the website’s code. The menu elements were preceded by a “Brazil_” prefix, suggesting the programmers are linked to that country.
Edward Barbini, IBM’s VP of External Relations said in a statement to Business Insider, “ Our recruiting websites temporarily and inappropriately solicited information concerning job applicant ethnicity.”
The job pages are hosted through a company called Brassring, but no one from their company could be reached for comment.
Barbini’s statement continued, “Those questions were removed immediately when we became aware of the issue and we apologize. IBM hiring is based on skills and qualifications. We do not use race or ethnic city in the hiring process, and any responses we received to those questions will be deleted. IBM has long rejected all forms of racial discrimination and we are taking appropriate steps to make sure this does not happen again.”