[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 3 August 2006, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
'Sick' joke job advert defended
Mark Kennedy-Stewart
Mark Kennedy-Stewart said the advert was humorous
A housing landlord has been criticised over the wording of a job advert for a part-time manager in Hawick.

Caduceus Investments Ltd wanted someone with "the guts to kick someone between the legs as we evict them and their two-year-old child onto the street".

The candidate requirement was on the website of the Falkirk-based firm.

The company said it was trying to inject some humour into the advert but a leading official on Scottish Borders Council described it as "despicable".

The firm was seeking a part-time manager, with a 12,500 pro-rata salary, to handle a proposed expansion looking after 200 properties in Hawick.

The fact of the matter is that there are sides to the business which can be unpleasant and we often deal with people at the lower end of the social spectrum
Mark Kennedy-Stewart
Caduceus Investment Ltd

Mark Kennedy-Stewart, who runs the company, defended the use of the phrase in the job advert which has now been removed from the website.

"I do not regret this at all," he said.

"The wording was in italics which I believe makes it clear that the reference to violent eviction was humorous but this has been misinterpreted."

Mr Kennedy-Stewart said he has a "sarcastic sense of humour".

"But the fact of the matter is that there are sides to the business which can be unpleasant and we often deal with people at the lower end of the social spectrum," he said.

"I, myself, have been assaulted on three occasions by tenants.

"The advert was designed to humorously convey that a wide range of people skills are required and that, yes, the successful candidate could be sworn at and abused and to infer otherwise could be misleading."

The advert would appear to betray an utter contempt for tenants and if this is indeed a joke, it is a very sick one
Lesley Crozier
Scottish Borders Council

Mr Kennedy-Stewart, who founded the firm in 2002, added: "The vacancy has been filled, that is why the advert is no longer on the website."

Speaking from their Edinburgh home, his Russian-born wife Anna, who is a partner in the business, said: "The problem here is that some people in this country do not have a sense of humour."

Lesley Crozier, the senior officer for social justice, equality and diversity with SBC, described the advert as "despicable".

She said the wording of the advert cast serious doubts on the firm as a "fit and proper" landlord.

Police role

"The advert would appear to betray an utter contempt for tenants and if this is indeed a joke, it is a very sick one," she said.

Under new anti-social behaviour legislation all private landlords and properties must be registered with the council.

"Part of that process involves determining if a landlord is a fit and proper person and our partners in the police have a role to play in that assessment," said Mrs Crozier.

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said they were aware of the situation.


SEE ALSO
Fury at 'crass' fish job advert
05 Dec 02 |  Scotland

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific