Employer apologises for ‘Filipino’ job ad

by Hannah Norton13 May 2015

Randstad Singapore has issued a public apology after posting a job advertisement which was found to be in contravention of the Tripartite Guidelines.

In a written statement, Randstad Singapore country director Michael Smith said the company “apologises for the unintentional error of posting a discriminatory job advertisement on jobstreet.com.sg dated 14 April 2015, which stated “Inside Sales Representative (Filipino)”.

“The job advertisement was found to be in contravention of the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices and had been deleted immediately upon its coming to our attention.”

Measures have since been implemented by the company to ensure that such discriminatory job advertisements will not be posted again, including ensuring that all Randstad employees are fully aware of the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, he said.

HR leaders need to be familiar with, and adopt best practices to fit with, guidelines established by the Fair Consideration Framework, according to Clyde & Co legal director and employment law specialist Julia Yeo.

Introduced in August last year, the guidelines require employers to first advertise job vacancies on the national Job Bank for at least two weeks before submitting Employment Pass applications.

The advertisement must be open to Singaporeans and must comply with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, for instance, being non-discriminatory, Yeo told HRD Singapore.

“We find that the Ministry of Manpower recently is becoming more vigilant in investigating companies that may have flouted the Tripartite Guidelines.”

Offenders are required to immediately address non-compliance, which may include the removal of non-compliant job advertisements, she said. 

“The Ministry is also not averse to demanding public apologies and imposing a bar on the companies' work pass privileges.”

The Guidelines also dictate what employers can and can’t ask potential employees in interviews, according to Singapore employment lawyer Susan de Silva, partner at ATMD Bird & Bird.

Questions such as “What is your race, colour or ethnicity?” and “Do you have children or plan to?” are contrary to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, she said.

“The first principle of such Fair Employment Practices is that employers should recruit and select employees on the basis of merit (such as skills, experience or ability to perform the job), and regardless of age, race, gender, religion, marital status and family responsibilities, or disability.

“These questions fall into the "regardless" group of considerations, and are inappropriate.”

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