Originally posted at 7:42 AM. See update, below.
Here’s the new language Swedish (and Providence) is now using in its employment ads:
“Swedish is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and recruits a diverse, high performing workforce and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, disability, military status, religion or any other protected status.”
On the surface, the first paragraph looks OK, until you remember that Washington State anti-discrimination law (which doesn’t apply to religious entities) also forbids discrimination on the basis of marital status and sexual orientation.
Before Swedish was acquired by Providence, here’s what the language in their contracts said:
“The Employer and the Union shall not discriminate against any employee by reason of race, creed, age, color, sex, national origin, citizenship, language, religious belief, marital status, sexual orientation, gender expression/identity, political ideology, ancestry, veterans status or the presence of any sensory mental or physical disability.”
Either Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain doesn't answer to Pope "Who Am I To Judge" Francis or the pope's "kinder, gentler" rhetoric about gay people is an elaborate PR scam.
UPDATE: Swedish spokesperson Clay Holtzman says, "That's not true. I can tell you 100% that is completely inaccurate.... This is like being told you're a racist. It's an ugly smear." He offered this statement explaining Swedish's position on LGBT employee protections. Providence spokesperson Colleen Wadden says, "This is an issue we take really, really seriously. This is an ad, not a policy." Wadden promised to clarify the boilerplate language in the job ad so that there would be no confusion.
Not to put too fine a point on it but since Swedish spokesperson Holtzman went there: Holtzman is equating anti-gay employment discrimination with explicitly racist employment practices. He argues that even suggesting Swedish might drop its LGBT employment protections is "an ugly smear." So... Holtzman is also saying that what Eastside Catholic High did earlier this year when it fired its openly gay vice principal is just as "ugly" as firing someone for being black. It's nice to hear a Catholic-institution-affiliated employee standing up against the Church's bigotry. Holtzman should have a word with Archbishop of Cincinnati. They're not just firing gay teachers there. They're also firing straight teachers who support equal rights for LGBT people.
Monica Harrington who blogs at Catholic Watch has provided us with what she says are other examples of sexual orientation being omitted from other Swedish job postings. We are inquiring with Swedish about these other listings. This issues gets really complicated really fast. More to come.
FURTHER UPDATE: Monica Harrington at Catholic Watch has heard from Providence and says she's "grateful that Providence is addressing this."
EVEN FURTHER UPDATE: Monica Harrington, in a comment on this post, adds:
As the author of the original post, I stand corrected on Swedish. Since my post appeared, they have released a public statement that makes clear Swedish doesn't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or marital status and they are updating job postings to clarify this. All great news.