A Missouri health clinic sent emails to multiple women applicants, denying them job offers because of their names.
At least 20 women, including Hermeisha Robinson and Dorneshia Zachery, received rejection letters from St. Louis’ Mantality Health center earlier this week. In the email, the company said it did not hire candidates that have what it says are “ghetto names.”
“Thank you for your interest in careers at Mantality Health. Unfortunately we do not consider candidates that have suggestive ‘ghetto’ names. We wish the best in your career search,” reads the rejection letter, which Robinson posted to Facebook on Monday.
Robinson, who applied for a customer service position at the health center, wrote on Facebook that her “feelings are very hurt” and asked people to share the post because “discrimination has to stop.” Her post quickly went viral and received over 11,000 shares as of Thursday morning.
“When I read the email I was just appalled,” Robinson told local St. Louis outlet KMOV.com. ”[My name] is just unique. It’s from my mom and my father.”
Zachery added that she teared up when she first read the email.
“The company looked at my name and said ‘No we don’t care about what you’ve done in life, your name is going to dismiss you completely,’” she told KMOV.com.
Mantality Health’s clinic director Jack Gamache told CBS Sacramento that the company’s account was hacked and that police are currently investigating the situation. Gamache added that the company believes a disgruntled employee sent the emails.
“The password for the outside job board site used by Mantality was compromised on August 13, 2018,” CEO of Mantality Health Kevin Meuret told HuffPost in a statement. “We are currently working with law enforcement to identify the perpetrator and consider appropriate legal action. We share the anger and frustration of those who received these bogus emails.”
Meuret told KMOV.com that 20 other candidates received the same email.
“This is not a reflection of who we are as a company,” he said. “This is deplorable.”
The employee listed as sending the email, Jordan Kimler, was not available for a HuffPost request for comment. The company denied that Kimler sent the email and told HuffPost that she is now being unfairly targeted.
“For some reason it was a personal attack on her,” Meuret told Metro News. “I’m deeply upset that her name was tied to something that disgusting. Anyone associated with her knows that doesn’t match with anything she’s said.”
Discrimination based on a person’s name and perceived race has long been an issue for job applicants in the U.S. According to a 2002 study that looked at 5,000 resumes for 1,300 job roles, names categorized as “white-sounding” received 50 percent more callbacks for interviews than names that were commonly assumed to be “black-sounding.”
Indeed.com, the job site that hosted the Mantality Health application, said in a statement that they do not believe their site was hacked.
“Account security is of utmost importance to Indeed and something that we diligently monitor,” the statement reads. “Account holders are responsible for use of their password and we recommend frequent updates and complete confidentiality of your password. Our investigation into this particular account shows no evidence of compromise.”
This article has been updated to add more information about Mantality employee Jordan Kimler.