Law firm monitors applicants’ pro-Palestine activities

Law firm monitors applicants’ pro-Palestine activities

(NewsNation) — A New York law firm says students who participated in pro-Palestinian protests need not apply. The firm promises to verify candidates’ participation, or lack thereof, through social media searches and background checks.

Police arrested more than 2,600 people during widespread protests in the spring, and some employers are now firing those who took part.

An example of this is a prominent New York law firm that hired a firm to conduct background checks and monitor social media posts to ensure new hires did not join the protests.

New York’s Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell is the latest firm to take action against protesters. According to The New York Times, applicants must explain their participation.

Sullivan and Cromwell did not respond to NewsNation’s repeated requests for comment.

The company declined to tell The New York Times whether it had rejected applicants based on their protest involvement. While they must adhere to certain anti-discrimination rules, private companies are generally allowed to hire whomever they want.

Sullivan and Cromwell’s reported actions go beyond singling out students who participated in protests. Joseph C. Shenker, the firm’s senior chairman, told The New York Times that behavior that could disqualify a candidate includes anti-Semitism and slogans and statements that could be “triggering” to Jewish people.

The company is not alone in its message, but it stands out for its potential rejection of students who did not use “anti-Semitic” language but engaged in protests where others did, according to The New York Times. That includes the oft-used slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Some see the chant as a threat to Israel. Others say it is a call to liberate the West Bank and Gaza from Israeli occupation ahead of the Hamas attacks of October 7, 2023.

Those attitudes could cost some job candidates their jobs — and not just at Sullivan and Cromwell. A new poll from the online research group suggests that students who have participated in protests could suffer long-term consequences. Of the 672 student protesters surveyed, 29 percent said an employer had rescinded a job offer in the past six months.

Seven in ten pro-Palestine protesters said that interviewers also asked them about their protest history.

Financial expert Bill Ackman was one of the first to start the trend. He called on Harvard to release the names of pro-Palestinian students so that companies and CEOs would not hire them.

Not everyone agrees with this.

Andrew Dudum, CEO of online men’s health company Hims, encouraged protesting students to sign up.

“Moral courage > University degree,” Dudum wrote on X in May. “If you are currently protesting the genocide of the Palestinian people and for your university’s divestment from Israel, keep going. It works. There are plenty of companies and CEOs who would happily hire you, regardless of your university’s discipline.”