A Toronto-based Internet solutions firm is in hot water after posting a job opportunity that involved receptionist duties. The caveat? Female candidates are preferred. After Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his taking paternity leave for two months, the social network announced an expansion of its paid leave for fathers. Black Friday saw the worst in people yet again this year. The New York Times is in a contentious battle with GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. And analysts are expecting the European Central Bank (ECB) to boost QE and cut rates.
These are the five global business headlines from last week.
1. Toronto Company Gets Flack for Sexist Job Ad
Social media was on fire last week after a LinkedIn job posting was discovered. Vestra Inet, a web design firm based out of Toronto, was seeking a web content and SEO writer who would also be performing receptionist duties. What seemed to have irked many people was the fact that it noted that it preferred female candidates.
“Please note that the Position requires filling in the responsibilities of a receptionist, so female candidates are preferred,” the listing said.
The last part enraged Twitter users and many people accused the company of being sexist because the firm believed that only women could be a receptionist, or perform the duties involved in the position.
Vestra Inet took down the post and did not respond to requests for comments from the media. That didn’t stop the damage from being done. Not only was the company accused of sexism, many people on Twitter said they would never use the company’s services again, and some even went as far as criticizing customers of Vestra Inet for using its services.
2. Facebook Expanding Paid Leave Time
After Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made headlines when he announced he was taking two months off to help care for his daughter, many business pundits lauded Zuckerberg for this policy as it would encourage other new fathers to follow in his footsteps. Well, Zuckerberg also took another giant leap: expanded paid leave for new dads.
Beginning in the New Year, full-time employees for Facebook around the world will have the option of taking off four months with pay. This will also apply to fathers who are in same-sex relationships. The paid time off can be taken any time throughout the year after a baby is born or a baby is adopted.
Currently, Facebook employees outside of the United States are given at least four weeks of paternity leave, though it’s longer in jurisdictions where it’s required by law. Nonetheless, the tech titan’s new policy increases parental leave for dads from four weeks to four months. It will benefit both American and non-American Facebook offices.
"In reviewing our parental leave policies, we have decided to make this change because it’s the right thing to do for our people and their families. This expanded benefit primarily affects new fathers and people in same-sex relationships outside the U.S."
What about maternity leave? Facebook already provides four months to employees, and has actually been available to both mothers and fathers within the U.S.
Here’s another added bonus: Zuckerberg will give $4,000 as a bonus to new parents to help cover the costs.
This move could prompt other tech firms to employ similar policies in order to maintain their current workforce. As most know, the competition for labor inside Silicon Valley is fierce.
3. Black Friday: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Well, not so much the good...
A woman steals a box from a child. Two grown men start fighting inside a shopping mall. A riot takes place inside a Wal-Mart for a discounted television. Yikes. Black Friday certainly brought out the worst in people for yet another year. Let’s take a look at each of these scenarios.
First, a video went viral of an adult shopper stealing a vegetable steamer from a child. The video, which was posted to YouTube, went on the front-page of the website and generated millions of videos. Usually, these incidents are confined to the adults, in which a fight usually breaks out. In this video, however, a female grown up decides to take something from a child. Afterwards, the mother started to combat the other culprit.
Second, probably the second-most popular incident on Black Friday, two groups of men at Florence Mall in Kentucky decided to start fighting. The reasons were unknown, but local authorities note that it wasn’t over any deals because the fight took place outside the stores on the upper level of the mall. During the fight, a few people were shouting "World Star," a reference to a hip hop website that aggregates fight videos.
Third, riots, fights and arrests took place inside a Wal-Mart in the city of El Paso. Various vantage points show mobs of people all vying for a discounted television, a man swinging his fists and a shopper getting into a fight with a Wal-Mart employee. Yikes!
There were likely a lot more videos showcasing absurd behaviors, but these were the top three making the rounds.
4. New York Times in Heated Battle With Donald Trump
Donald Trump, the real estate billionaire mogul who also happens to be leading the field of Republican presidential candidates, is facing staunch criticism after he reportedly mocked a disabled New York Times investigative reporter on the campaign trail.
Speaking during a rally in South Carolina, Trump defended his remarks that thousands of Muslims were seen celebrating in New York City following the 9/11 attacks. Trump explained that the reporter, Serge Kovaleski, had been backing away from an article he wrote when he was employed by the Washington Post.
Trump called Kovaleski a "nice reporter," but then immediately criticized him while jerking his arms around and holding his right hand at an angle (Kovaleski suffers from arthrogryposis):
“Now the poor guy, you ought to see this guy. "‘Ah, I don’t know what I said! I don’t remember!’"
Both the newspaper and Trump are seeking apologies. But one thing is for sure: Trump will not be apologizing and is instead demanding the newspaper provide him with an apology. In a released statement, Trump noted that he doesn’t remember ever meeting Kovaleski and, "despite having one of the all-time great memories," he doesn’t know what he looks like.
"What I do know is that after 14 years and no retraction, this reporter tried to pull away from the tailgate party paragraph he wrote many years ago for The Washington Post," Trump said.
The New York Times responded: "We continue to find this behavior outrageous." In other words, no apology is coming.
Is Trump’s latest scandal affecting his ratings in the polls? Nope. He’s still ahead of Ben Carson by 10 percent.
5. ECB to Boost QE, Cut Interest Rates
The eurozone will receive a fresh boost of quantitative easing and further negative interest rates this week. The European Central Bank (ECB) announced that it will slash interest rates and pump more of its trillion-euro QE scheme into the eurozone economy.
ECB President Mario Draghi hinted at the latest policy meeting that this won’t be the last of stimulus measures. He provided strong signals of monetary firepower that would be injected into a sluggish economy. The overnight deposit rate is negative 0.2 percent, which will be decreased to negative 0.4 percent.
What does this mean for the region’s banks? Well, the profitability of Europe’s biggest banks would be diminished. One of the reasons is that a policy of negative rates would mean banks would be spending a lot of money just to hold cash deposits from its customers.
Analysts do say that amplified stimulus is a sure thing, especially since inflation levels are still beneath the two percent target and the economy hasn’t recovered from the economic collapse a few years ago. In fact, according to economists, the ECB will likely employ at least two of the following measures:
- Extend QE
- Buy more bonds now
- Purchase different assets
- Slash rates even further
- Improve communication
Financial experts referred to these policies as the "Robin Hood Tax" because it’s penalizing the big, richer and safer banks.
An Internet solutions firm learned firsthand the wrath of social media. Facebook has announced it is expanding paternity leave for new dads to four months. Black Friday showcased the very worst of human beings. Donald Trump is under fire for mocking a disabled New York Times investigative reporter. And the ECB is looking to enhance QE and cut interest rates even further into negative territory.
What do you think were the biggest business headlines last week? Let us know in the comments section below.