A company which posted a job ad stating it was looking for a "preferably caucasian" employee has sparked outrage across the globe.
The furore began this week after Twitter users spotted the ad — which has been variously described as "racist", "immoral" and "illegal" — and immediately shared it on social media.
Cynet Systems Inc, a US IT service management company, had published the posting for a full-time, mid-senior level business development position across multiple websites, including professional networking site LinkedIn.
The job description stated Cynet Systems was on the hunt for someone who was "preferably caucasian" with "good technical background", eight to 10 years of experience and a "relationship individual" who could "get more opportunities" and "build the account".
Twitter user Helena McCabe was one of many who shared a screenshot of the ad on social media, posting: "Uh, hey @cynetjobs — what's with this? Your job listing for a mid-senior level business development position's top qualification is 'Preferably caucasian'. How could you POSSIBLY think that's okay?"
Other Twitter users were similarly outraged, with Dara Baldwin writing: "It's illegal and immoral to write this in a job description! Affirmative Action is not needed right? Thanks @cynetjobs for proving our point that racism still exists! #ThisisAmerica" and Andrew Rivera adding: "I can't believe something like this still exists in this day and age".
Cynet Systems eventually responded to the outcry on Sunday, tweeting an apology over the incident and confirming those responsible had been fired.
"Cynet [Systems] apologises for the anger & frustration caused by the offensive job post. It does not reflect our core values of inclusivity & equality. The individuals involved have been terminated. We will take this as a learning experience & will continue to serve our diverse community," the tweet reads.
But members of the public demanded to know how the posting had ever been published in the first place.
"Instead of writing something generic as hell like this, maybe explain to us — how did this *happen*? Did a company you work with send in a straight up racist help-wanted ad, and y'all just Ctrl+C Ctrl+V'ed it? Or was it an in person discussion and your employee went 'sounds fine'?" Joe McReynolds wrote.
Co-CEO Ashwani Mayur later sent a statement to the Huffington Post offering further details.
"Both of our owners are Indian-Americans, our workforce is over 60 per cent minority, and we are certified as a diversity supplier by the National Minority Supplier Development Council," he said, adding the business was "looking at measures to catch offensive or outside-of-policy ads before they ever go live to ensure this can't happen again."