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"Such an attitude is not one that DBS, or any other organization, can condone in a leader."

TOC Latest: DBS “disappointed” with Josie Lau’s disregard for staff Code of Conduct

Darren Boon

Not the first time that Lau had breached the staff code of conduct. 

DBS this evening issued a stinging statement rebuking Josie Lau for flouting the DBS staff code of conduct twice.

“Every year, all employees are required to acknowledge that they will abide by the bank’s policies.  We are disappointed that Josie knowingly disregarded DBS’ staff code of conduct twice,” the spokesperson said.   “Such attitude is not one that DBS, or any other organisation, can condone in a leader.”

In response to TOC queries, DBS spokesperson stated that in accordance to the Bank’s staff code of conduct, employees need to request and receive approval before taking on an external appointment, something which Lau failed to do.    

“Josie informed the bank of her appointment as AWARE Ex-co member on 13 April, over two weeks after she was appointed on 28 March.  She had not sought prior approval for this appointment and thereby breached the staff code of conduct,” the DBS spokesperson said.  “Nevertheless, DBS made a concession and agreed to support her involvement as Ex-co member.”

Lau had informed DBS of her intent to run for President of AWARE early in the week.  After a review, DBS replied to Lau that while DBS will continue to support Lau’s involvement with AWARE, DBS could not support her bid to run for President given the demands associated with the top post of a leading advocacy group in Singapore. 

“Banks worldwide are facing very challenging times and her role as VP in the credit card space today is even more challenging, given the environment we are in,” the spokesperson said. 

The spokesperson pointed out that DBS takes pride in its employees’ pursuit of individual interests and passions outside work such as involvement in various community, charity and volunteer organisations in a personal capacity.  The spokesperson clarified that these employees had sought and obtained prior consent to do so in line with the Bank’s staff code of conduct.    

“Approval is granted on a case-by-case basis, depending on the demands of the proposed external appointment as well as the job responsibilities that the individual holds in the bank,” the spokesperson said. 

Ms Lau is the Vice President and Head of Marketing, Cards and Unsecured Loans, Consumer Banking Group, and is married to private General Practitioner Dr Alan Chin. Dr Chin is an outspoken advocate of for the continued criminalization of homosexual sex between consenting males.

This comes on the heels of DBS’ controversial support of the anti-gay group Focus of the Family (FOTF) last November.  DBS had held a campaign pledging to contribute up to S$15,000 to FOTF when credit cardholders spend a minimum of $300 during weekends at selected malls between 14 November and 21 December. 

FOTF Singapore is an affiliate of the American FOTF, which is led by the Christian evangelical James Dobson. FOTF USA is a proponent of school sponsored Christian prayer and is staunchly anti-abortion and anti-gay. The money from DBS’ campaign was intended to support FOTF Singapore building of a new learning centre for children with learning disabilities. 

After strong public outcry, DBS rescinded all references of FOTF in its campaign advertising and clarified DBS acceptance of diversity and inclusion. 

DBS is currently conducting an internal review into Josie Lau’s breach of the staff code.

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