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MOM and TAFEP’s Statement in response to a social media post by K.

On 2 March 2021, “K” published a post on the Facebook page “Abolish CECA Petition” alleging that the owner of a restaurant (“M”), had discriminatory and unfair employment practices. K related that he responded to a MyCareersFuture job advertisement by M for the position of a ‘South Indian Chettinad Cook’.

 

Claim #1: M told K that M could hire someone from India if there was no Singaporean applicant within 28 days.

Fact: False.

When interviewed, K maintained that M informed him that the restaurant could hire a foreigner if no Singaporean applied for the job. However, K admitted that M did not mention the 28-day duration. After K’s conversation with M, he read about the Fair Consideration Framework requirements, and thus had included it in the post. M denied making any part of this statement.

In fact, M posted a job advertisement for the position of a Cook three times in the last twelve months, on 29 Aug 2020, 22 Nov 2020 and 29 Jan 2021, without success. M has also not used any of the unmatched job advertisements to support any application for a new work pass.

M’s version is further corroborated by the fact that M’s restaurant had already maxed out its quota. Hence, M would have known that even if it submitted an application for a work pass, it would have been rejected.

 

Claim #2: M told K that MOM will close one eye (to non-compliance of an employer’s obligations under Singapore’s employment law) since it is the COVID-19 situation

Fact: False.

When interviewed, K claimed that M said this in response to his question why transport was not provided as part of the job. M on the other hand, denied ever making such a statement.

Going by K’s version, even if the statement was made, it was not in reference to the job application, but about transport arrangements if he got the job.

K was under the impression that an employer is legally required to provide transport if an employee is required to report to work early. His understanding is incorrect because there is no such legal obligation, although many employers offer it to make it more convenient for their staff.

 

Claim #3: M told him that only “Indians from India” will be suitable for the job

Fact: Probably untrue.

K alleged that in their conversation, which was in Tamil, M said that only “Uru Tamil” will be suitable for the job. K understood the term “Uru Tamil” to mean “Indians from India”, but the term more accurately means the Tamil language as spoken in India. The right term for Indians in India should have been “Uru Karan”. Nevertheless, M denied making such a statement.

Considering that M did not ultimately seek to apply for a work pass even after satisfying the job advertisement requirement, and also that M would have known he has no additional quota, it is unlikely that M’s intention was to only fill the position with a foreigner.

 

Additional Information

K mentioned in his Facebook post that he completed a Master’s Degree in Culinary Arts and Food Science and has 8 years of experience in the cooking field. His resume, however, stated that his degree from Johnson & Wales University was incomplete. When interviewed, he provided a different explanation– he had completed the programme but he had not fully paid his tuition fees. When asked to provide a copy of the transcript, he said he needed to retrieve it from the university, but later declined to assist further, citing inconvenience.

K’s resume also declared that he was previously a MOM enforcement officer. This is also incorrect. K has never been employed by MOM, nor was he ever called up for a job interview by MOM.

 

Conclusion

After interviewing both K and M, and carefully examining the facts of the case, we do not find that M was discriminatory or unfair in his hiring practice.

We advise job seekers who encounter practices they believe to be unfair or discriminatory to report to TAFEP, so that their concerns can be properly looked into, misunderstandings clarified, and appropriate action taken if any breaches are detected.