SINGAPORE: Five employers have been barred from hiring foreign employees and renewing the work passes of existing foreign employees for 12 months after they were found to have practised “age-related discriminatory hiring”.
These penalties for Wisdomtree Learning Centre, Outshinerz Events, Security & Risk Solutions, Incredible Service Doc and IDOC Pte Ltd kick in “with immediate effect”, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a news release on Friday (Mar 20).
The five companies had “placed discriminatory job advertisements, or had indicated preferences for candidates of a certain age group during the hiring process”, MOM said. This was in breach of the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.
The ministry highlighted a job advertisement put out by Wisdomtree Learning Centre on MyCareersFuture.sg on Sep 26 last year. The centre said in its advertisement it preferred “candidates younger than 30 years old” to fill the role of a senior Chinese teacher.
MOM found that the employer was looking for younger candidates as they wanted “energetic” teachers who could engage with the students. The manpower authority later assessed that the education centre 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,” MOM said.
Outshinerz Events had also put out similar job advertisements with age requirements. It advertised three positions - customer relations executive, project management trainee and product marketing executive - on Fastjobs.sg on Jul 31, 2019. All three positions had an age criteria, with the oldest stipulated age being 45.
The employer claimed it was looking for younger candidates to cope with a fast-paced working environment, pitch for sales and engage customers. As the prospective hire would be required to host events at schools, Outshinerz Events said it preferred people who would be able to project a vibrant image to appeal to a younger audience.
MOM said however, it was discriminatory for the employer to assess the candidates’ suitability based on age.
In two job advertisements posted on WhatsApp, Security & Risk Solutions stated its preference for candidates under the age of 40 years old and under the age of 50 years old for the position of a security officer.
The company said it indicated a preference for younger hires because candidates needed to be hazardous materials (HAZMAT) certified – a course that can be physically demanding.
“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,” MOM countered.
Incredible Services and IDOC Pte Ltd, both under the same Incredible Group, were penalised after an applicant brought the issue to light.
A 51-year-old applicant informed the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices that her application was rejected “immediately” after being told she was “too old for the job”.
“MOM’s investigations revealed that both employers filtered applicants for the positions, and granted interviews only to female Chinese applicants under the age of 45.
“Incredible Service Pte Ltd and IDOC Pte Ltd failed to adopt fair hiring practices, as it discriminated against candidates on account of their age and also made egregiously discriminatory remarks to an applicant,” the authority said.