When you need to be fit and able!

One of me pet hates are adverts that ask for people to be able to do x,y,z  …  listen…  I am not a PC doo gooder..  but seriously.   Is this discrimination or Wot ?

At the BAJR Conference in 2006, we discussed in depth adverts in the USA loking for fieldworkers..

IT seems that the language used was … what I might see as discrimination, … I often get calls from people in the UK, who worry that a bad back, or being in a wheelchair or being colourblind will affect their opportunities in archaeology.. however, I check adverts very carefully to ensure they have no trace of discrimination.

This seems to be different in the USA.. where quite blatent discrimination is evident… excluding people fro projects. Now I know that if you are having to climb up a cliff to get to a cave site, a wheelchair might not be the best mode of transport, or if you are walking 12 miles a day on a field survey, a person with one leg might not move as fast… BUT… is it fair and right to make it almost a crime to be disabled in archaeology?

My question is… if Archaeolgy in the UK can integrate disabled people, why can’t this be the case in teh USA…. and when we advertise for a field survey over rough terrain, we don’t feel the need to specify that peope must be able to walk and think at teh same time or be capable of lifting 20lbs above their heads??

Is it to do with a legal problem? – I am both interested in the percieved need for these discrimination adverts and if there is anything that can be done to stop them?
I enclose some adverts that were pulled out…

‘Summary of the Results of the Employer’s Questionnaire UK’

“….Major concerns of employers are
– the ability of employees to do the job
– risk factors and Health and Safety
– honesty when being recruited.”

“There is some confusion over exactly what constitutes ‘disability’….”“Disabled employees are mostly employed in field investigation activities whatever their impairment, including restricted mobility.”Adverts from the USA“Commitment to entire project desirable. Please DO NOT RESPOND without mandatory qualifications…
Ability to stand, walk, stoop, dig, and work all day.
Ability to walk over rugged, remote terrain up to 10 miles or more [with]
gear, food, water…”

Too Fat or too Fit!“The work is primarily pedestrian survey, but may also include site testing,
excavation, and construction monitoring, Frequent out of town travel can be expected. The fieldwork is physically demanding and candidates must be able to walk 6-10+ miles a day carrying up to 20lbs of equipment over steep slopes and through heavy brush….”

Archaeologist/Museum Technician $14 per hour. Savannah Georgia
Serves as Technician for Curatorial Dept of Savannah History Museum and
Coastal Heritage Society. Conducts Phase I, II, and III level field work….All phases of lab work…Writes technical reports…Develops exhibits with guidance…Catalogs permanent collection….database entry.
Qualifications: Ability to lift 50 lbs…and  Ability to climb stairs and ladders.” 

I don’t know what the legal position is in the US, but in this country such a precise demand for lifting ability, use of ladders etc would have to be backed up by explicit reasons why the job could NOT be done by someone who could not lift 50 lbs, do 200 press-ups, etc. …..The post also asks for 3-5 years field experience which could be really difficult to get for someone with family……So perhaps we should suggest that women should not do this work as well… and why not just any people with children… any more??  Why stop there?

I am not trying to condemn – rather wondering why this is? Is there a good reason?  And if it is good…  then fine…  but just because is not good enough!


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