Tennessee Aquarium Removes Minority Requirement from Job Posting

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Tennessee Aquarium took down a job posting for a Community Engagement Educator.

The top requirement on the job posting stated only minorities need apply.
“Quite frankly, I’m shocked by this job posting.” says attorney Gary Massey, owner of Massey and Associates, a firm that specializes in employment law.
Since being questioned about the minority requirement, the aquarium has removed the job posting. They sent a statement to News 12 that said, “The Tennessee Aquarium is an inclusive environment. We have updated the posting in question and realize it appeared to focus on minorities rather than include minorities. We want our education and all departments to reflect our entire community. We will always select the best candidate for the position.”

When initially asked, the aquarium defended the requirement as unique and necessary for the role.
“Having students see themselves in the education staff provides one way to provide equity for these students to catch up and see themselves in those careers in the future,” says Dr. Anna George of the Tennessee Aquarium.
“There’s one small exception, if it’s fundamental for the occupation,” says Massey. “But that’s very limited and it’s hard for me to imagine how the aquarium could fall into one of those categories.”
A Chattanooga human resources specialist applauds the aquarium’s efforts but questions the legality of their methods.
“We have to do it the right way. So I would question whoever posted that job. Because if you’re getting any government funding or a 501c3, you’re held to an even greater level of compliance. Number one, I applaud them for their effort. Number two, let’s get that tweaked so they’re compliant with the Department of Labor and the EEO,” says Donna Lowe, Chief Operating Officer of MSI Workforce Solutions.

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