Black woman denied job because of ‘ghetto’ name; company claims email hacked

Hermeisha Robinson, 27, of Bellefontaine Neighbors, posted the email response from Mantality Heath on her Facebook page. 

“Thank you for your interest in careers at Mantality Health,” the email read, according to Robinson’s post. “Unfortunately, we do not consider candidates that have suggestive ‘ghetto’ names. We wish the best in your career search.”

The email was signed Jordan Kimler, a nurse practitioner with the company. According to the company’s website, Mantality Health provides treatment to men suffering from low testosterone. It has multiple locations in several states. 

Robinson wrote that she was upset to be turned away from a position she felt she was well qualified for.

“My feelings are very hurt and they even got me second-guessing my name, trying to figure out if my name is really that ‘ghetto,’” she wrote. “I would like for everyone to share this post because discrimination has to stop!”

Share the post her friends did. As of Wednesday morning, it had been shared more than 10,000 times. 

One of the people sharing Robinson’s post was her cousin, Miltina Burnett. Burnett wrote on Facebook that the response made Robinson -- who was named after her late father, Herman -- question whether she should “change her name to fit in corporate America.”

“Don’t ever change who you are to become more like them,” Burnett wrote. “They had no right to say what they said to her.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch spoke with Mantality Health owner Kevin Meuret, who on Tuesday said that the company’s email system was hacked by someone outside Missouri. Meuret said he believes the hacker may be an angry former employee. 

“I’m a father of three daughters, and that young lady getting that (response) is horrible,” Meuret told the Post-Dispatch. “That young lady opened something that must have felt like a freight train, and that’s unacceptable.”

Burnett shared images of private messages she received from Mantality Health employees about the alleged hacking. 

Company officials believe the hacking may have been done through Indeed.com, where Robinson submitted her application. Mantality Health’s website has a statement addressing the situation.

“The password for the outside job board site used by Mantality was compromised on Aug. 13, 2018,” the statement reads. “We are currently working with law enforcement to identify the perpetrator and consider appropriate legal action. We share the anger and frustration of those who received these bogus emails.”

Meuret told KMOV News 4 that they believe about 20 applicants got emails similar to Robinson’s.

Dorneshia Zachery was one of them, the news station reported. 

“The company looked at my name and said, ‘We don’t care about what you’ve done in life; your name is going to dismiss you completely,’” Zachery told News 4

Meuret told the news station that the emails are deplorable.

“This is not a reflection of who we are as a company,” he said. 

The company has gotten the Chesterfield Police Department involved in the case, as well as St. Louis County’s cybercrimes division. 

“We will continue to pursue this even if it becomes a federal matter,” Meuret told the Post-Dispatch

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Indeed.com officials told News 4 that they have found no signs of hacking on their end.

“Account security is of utmost importance to Indeed and something that we diligently monitor,” the company’s statement read. “Account holders are responsible for use of their password and we recommend frequent updates and complete confidentiality of your password. Our investigation into this particular account shows no evidence of compromise.”

Cybersecurity experts told the Post-Dispatch that the incident was likely an internal break-in and not a “high-tech hacking event.”

“If you have a guy who knows everything about the infrastructure of the company, it’s going to happen,” Jianli Pan, a cybersecurity professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, told the newspaper. “It’s up to the company how important it is for them to keep their systems secure. But that’s not free. It takes money and training and designating some expert to be in charge of such issues.”

Companies, particularly small ones, should have a checklist of things to do when an employee leaves, according to Joe Scherrer, Washington University’s program director of graduate studies in information systems management and cybersecurity management. The checklist should include eliminating all access to email, social media and all other communication means, Scherrer told the Post-Dispatch

“You should scrub them out of the company. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s how to prevent this from happening,” Scherrer told the newspaper

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