Property Management Firm Apologises After Allegations of Discriminatory Hiring Practices

If there’s one thing that both clients and employees alike will likely steer away from, it’s a company with discriminatory hiring practices.

And in the day and age of social media, companies who engage in such practices often end up exposed on the Internet for all to see with just a few clicks.

Well, it seems like one company recently landed itself in hot water after allegedly discriminating against its workers on the basis of age, and here’s what they have to say.

Security Association Singapore Found Firm “Discriminating Against Workers”

Just yesterday (20 June), Security Association Singapore (SAS) took to Facebook to share about various clauses that they had noticed in Knight Frank Property Management.

In particular, SAS was referring to the tender issued by Knight Frank for security services at Spring Grove condominium.

Various points related to unfair hiring practices were pointed out by Mr Nicholas Lim, the chief of staff at SAS.

In particular, the post focused on a clause which stated that “Security personnel employed under this Contract shall not be below 21 years old or more than 55 years old”.

The clause also specified that the Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) “reserves the right to demand immediate replacement of any of the Contractor’s personnel who do not fall within the aforementioned age group such and such replacement must be effected within 12 hours from the time written instructions are given”.

Apart from that, there were also other immediate removal clauses that the MCST or managing agent could act on to fire security officers at the management’s discretion.

And if you’re already confused by what all this means, it basically means that the management has the right to terminate the employment of security officers even if they have no valid reason to do so.

“This means that the MCST or its Managing Agent can summarily dismiss security officers as long as they deem that a security officer is “undesirable”, without having to provide any form of justification or recourse whatsoever,” SAS added in its Facebook post.

This tender for Spring Grove condominium is due to end this Friday (24 June).

According to the contract, security services for the condominium will commence on 1 September this year.

Further Update Regarding Knight Frank Tenders

Thereafter, SAS provided another update regarding another similar tender that involved Knight Frank as well.

In the update, SAS wrote, “Since our post, SAS has received another whistleblowing report of a tender issued by Knight Frank this week for security services at Sky@Eleven (MCST No. 3582) stipulating that security officers deployed under the contract “shall not be below 21 years old and not more than 60 years old”.”

Knight Frank’s Response

After SAS’ post, Knight Frank proceeded to withdraw the tender that it had previously issued to Spring Grove condominium for security services.

Yesterday (20 June), a Knight Frank spokesperson explained to The Straits Times that the clauses mentioned by SAS came from “outdated” documents and that the firm has recalled all other similar tenders.

The spokesperson apologised on behalf of the firm for including outdated clauses in the tenders that were sent out recently and emphasised that Knight Frank had reviewed its tenders last year by using the SAS’ guidelines as a guide.

Apart from that, the spokesperson also assured that Knight Frank will be distributing updated copies of the tenders to its tenderers, and that it has contacted SAS regarding the issue as well.

Similar Case Pointed Out by SAS

In SAS’ Facebook post, another similar case that concerned Savills Property Management and its tender for security services at Hillview Heights condominium was discussed as well.

The tender, which was issued last year, was flagged by SAS as there were clauses that made employment unfair for non-Mandarin speakers and older workers.

Savills proceeded to issue an apology regarding the incident and claimed that the phrasing of the clause was a result of “historical tender documentation language from 2000”.

The firm also said that it “had taken steps to ensure all tender documentation reflects current Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices”.

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Issues with TAFEP

Mr Lim from SAS proceeded to point out the issues with Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) in Singapore, saying that there was a “glaring gap” between how the guidelines treat employers and managing agents.

He explained that while the employers bear the weight of discrimination issues when hiring staff, managing agents “appear to get off with merely a warning”.

More Information Regarding TAFEP

TAFEP, which is manned by the Tripartite Alliance (TAL), seeks to improve equality when it comes to recruitment practices.

TAL was established by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore National Employers Federation.

“Employers must 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,” the TAFEP guidelines read.

Even though companies are not legally bound by TAFEP, they may still end up getting into trouble with MOM if they do not abide by the employment guidelines.

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