Monster pulls job listings, resumes for nations on U.S. sanctions list
Computerworld - After a routine internal review of its legal responsibilities, online job-search vendor Monster yesterday deleted job postings and client resumes for residents in seven countries listed by the U.S. government as sanctioned nations with whom trade is illegal.
Kevin Mullins, a spokesman for Maynard, Mass.-based Monster, formerly known as Monster.com, said the resumes and job postings were pulled after a regularly scheduled company legal review found that the listings are in violation of U.S. Treasury Department regulations banning business dealings with sanctioned nations. The list is kept by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Clients who live in the affected nations -- Cuba, Burma/Myanmar, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria and North Korea -- were notified last week by e-mail that their resumes would be removed from the site, Mullins said. Companies from those nations that had posted job offers were also notified that their listings would be removed.
The exact number of removed listings isn't known, Mullins said, but could total a few thousand. The company said it typically features more than 800,000 job postings on its site at any one time.
"We did it to comply with the regulations. It wasn't a direct result of anything specific" and wasn't done at the request or direction of any government agency, he said.
Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the Treasury Department, said the sanctions against many of the nations on the list, such as Cuba, have been in place for decades. "Most companies have known about them for years," Griffin said. "Individual companies take appropriate steps to institute policies to comply with those sanctions. It seems to me that's what happened here."
Violations of the regulations are subject to criminal penalties, including fines of up to $1 million and prison terms of up to 12 years.
An attorney for Monster said today that two main provisions of the sanction regulations prohibit the exporting of services to countries on the list and ban U.S. citizens from aiding or engaging in transactions with people in those nations.
"Like all good corporate citizens, Monster is constantly reviewing its policies and procedures to ensure it's in compliance with the law," said the attorney, who asked not to be named. Monster "found it to be important to formulate a policy ... that errs on the side of caution."
The Monster action, however, was criticized today by Will Doherty, media relations director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit digital rights group. "Simply removing certain countries that can be specified in a resume is an inappropriate response to federal law," he said.
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