Recently, PrimaDeli, a homegrown establishment, was embroiled in a case of what appears to be racial discrimination in hiring (Straits Times, April 30th); A job applicant had published a detailed account of her job interview at an unnamed company, during which one of the employees made outlandish discriminatory remarks with regards to her employability. The social media post then quickly went viral, provoking much ire of the general public with regards to the way the job applicant was unfairly treated during the interview.
Although the homegrown brand wasn't directly named in the post, PrimaDeli acted swiftly in response and have came out to acknowledge the incident, highlighting that the employee in question is “no longer employed” with the firm.
Unfortunately, despite such quick decisive action, the damage to the brand image has already been done. In the case of PrimaDeli, the employee in question was not from the HR team. It is a stark reminder that it is paramount to ensure that every staff member, and not just the HR team, is educated and aware of the TAFEP guidelines of recruitment and fair employment practices, and are guided in their correspondence with the job candidates accordingly.
A mis-step by any employee, regardless of their role in interacting with potential job candidates could bring about irreparable damage to the firm's brand and identity with the public. In a diverse and multicultural society, it is important to bear in mind cultural sensitivities and ensure accurate representation of job qualifications and requirements.
In light of the incident, we would like to highlight some hiring best practises that are aligned with Tripartite Alliance of Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP)’s guidelines on job advertisements.
If the job advertisement specifies proficiency in a particular language or has other language text, employers should provide the job reason.
Race & Religion
Race & Religion should not be a criterion for the selection of job candidates as multi-racialism is a fundamental principle in Singapore. Avoid using phrases such as "Chinese/Malay/Indian preferred".Likewise, religion should not be a criterion for recruitment except in cases where employees have to perform religious functions as part of the job requirement.
This is generally an irrelevant criterion in employment as jobs can be performed equally well by either married or single persons - Avoid using phrases such as "Preferably Singles".
Words or phrases that exclude Singaporeans, or indicate preference for non-Singaporeans, or which could be perceived to be discriminatory should not be used.For e.g. "Singaporeans & SPRs/Locals preferred/welcome/only."
Race should not be a criterion for the selection of job candidates as multi-racialism is a fundamental principle in Singapore. - See more at: https://www.tafep.sg/job-advertisements#sthash.EMyFPa6T.dpuf
Employer’s Pledge of Fair Employment Practices
An organization can sign the Employer’s Pledge of Fair Employment Practices to indicate its commitment to fair employment practices. By doing so, the organization will enjoy benefits such as free consultation on hiring practices, access to hiring guides and a pledge signer’s badge that can be used for branding purposes.
Is TAFEP Mandatory?
Yes, it is mandatory for all companies operating in Singapore to abide by TAFEP’s guidelines. Companies who fail to adhere to the guidelines will be referred to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for investigation and could result in curtailed work pass privileges.
PrimaDeli sacks staff member over 'racist' remarks
Job Advertisements, TAFEP Guidelines