Five employers penalised for age-related discriminatory hiring
- The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has penalised five employers for age-related discriminatory hiring.
- Investigations found that the five employers– Wisdomtree Learning Centre LLP, Outshinerz Events Pte.Ltd, Security & Risk Solutions Pte Ltd, Incredible Service Doc Pte Ltd and IDOC Pte Ltd – had placed discriminatory job advertisements, or had indicated preferences for candidates of a certain age group during the hiring process.
- For breaching the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, MOM has barred the five employers from hiring foreign employees, and from renewing the work passes of their existing foreign employees for a period of 12 months with immediate effect. These five cases also come under the enhanced Fair Consideration Framework, and are subject to the stiffer administrative penalties that MOM has put in place from January 2020.
- Through education and enforcement, MOM and the Tripartite Partners’ efforts to tackle workplace discrimination have resulted in:
- The number of age, race or gender discrimination complaints decreased from about 240 cases in 2016 to about 125 in 2019.
- The number of age discrimination complaints, which continues to form the highest share of age, race or gender discrimination complaints, has halved from about 100 in 2016 to about 50 in 2019.
CASE BACKGROUND – WISDOMTREE LEARNING CENTRE LLP
- In the case of Wisdomtree Learning Centre LLP, the educational centre had posted a job advertisement on MyCareersFuture.sg on 26 September 2019. In the job advertisement, the centre stated its preference for candidates younger than 30 years old, for the position of Senior Chinese Teacher.
- MOM’s investigations revealed that the employer was looking for younger candidates as they wanted “energetic” teachers who could engage with the students.
- MOM assessed that Wisdomtree had failed to adopt fair hiring practices. Employer should assess candidates on the basis of merit – in this case, whether they are able to engage the students well. All candidates, regardless of age, should be given fair opportunity to be considered for a job.
- Case details of the other four employers can be found in Annex.
EMPLOYERS SHOULD HIRE BASED ON MERIT
- Ms Christine Loh, Director of Employment Standards Enforcement of MOM’s Labour Relations and Workplaces Division, said, “While the number of age, race or gender discrimination complaints has fallen in the past few years, we are striving to bring them lower. We must continue our efforts to weed out employers who persist in discriminatory practices. Employers should recruit based on merit, regardless of age. When employers hire fairly, they can access a wider talent pool and ensure the best available person gets the job.”
- Members of the public who have specific information of employers with discriminatory hiring or workplace practices should report the matter to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) at www.tal.sg/tafep/contact-us. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
1) CASE BACKGROUND – Outshinerz Events Pte Ltd
- Outshinerz Events Pte Ltd, an events company, had posted three jobs advertisements for the positions of a) Customer Relations Executive, b) Project Management Trainee, and c) Product Marketing Executive on Fastjobs.sg on 31 July 2019. In all three positions, the employer had stipulated an age criterion: Customer Relations Executive (Age 18 to 30); Project Management Trainee (Age 18 to 45), and for the Product Marketing Executive (Age 18 to 35).
- During MOM’s investigations, the employer claimed it was looking for younger candidates to cope with a fast-paced working environment, pitch for sales and engage customers. The employer also said that it preferred candidates who would be able to project a vibrant image to appeal to a younger audience, as the candidates would be required to host events at schools.
- Outshinerz Events failed to adopt fair hiring practices, as it was discriminatory for the employer to assess the candidates’ suitability based on age.
2) CASE BACKGROUND – Security & Risk Solutions Pte Ltd
- Security & Risk Solutions Pte Ltd, a security company, posted two job advertisements for the position of Security Officer in a group chat on the Whatsapp platform, on 26 December 2019. In the two job advertisements, the employer stated its preference for candidates under the age of 40 years old and under the age of 50 years old respectively.
- MOM’s investigations revealed that the employer required the candidates to be Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) certified. As the HAZMAT course can be physically demanding, the employer indicated its preference for younger candidates.
- MOM assessed that Security & Risk Solutions Pte Ltd failed to adopt fair hiring practices, as the employer discriminated against candidates based on age. While the discriminatory phrases may have been included out of concern for safety, the employer should have focused on the job requirements and the physical intensity of the HAZMAT course, instead of indicating arbitrary age requirements.