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Employment agency fined for insensitive online advertising of foreign domestic workers on Carousell, Notice of License revocation served

An employment agency, SRC Recruitment LLP (SRC), was fined $78,000 in the State Courts on Wednesday (30 April) under the Employment Agencies Act (EAA) for insensitive advertising of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) on online marketplace Carousell.

The company was prosecuted by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in October 2018.

The employment agency (EA) pleaded guilty on 26 March 2019 to 16 charges for breach of EA Licence Conditions by advertising FDWs insensitively and casting them in an undignified light. SRC was also fined a further $30,000 on another 29 proceeded charges for EAA offences. The remaining 99 charges were taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing.

Source: MOM.

The ministry noted that the notice of license revocation has been served to SRC.

Investigations revealed that between 1 and 17 September 2018, 49 FDWs were advertised under the SRC on online marketplace, Carousell. These advertisements likened the FDWs to commodities.

MOM stated that it had informed the EA industry through the EA Alerts in July 2014, November 2016 and February 2018 on the EA Licence Condition on responsible advertising. Despite this, SRC failed to exercise sensitivity when marketing its services, and breached the said EA Licence Condition.

Commenting on the case, Mr Kevin Teoh, Commissioner for Employment Agencies, said: “MOM does not condone any offensive and insensitive advertising methods that portray FDWs in a negative light. We remind all EAs of the need to uphold professional standards when discharging their duties. MOM will not hesitate to take stern enforcement actions, including license revocation, against errant EAs.”

The breach of any EA Licence Condition is an offence under the EAA. If convicted, offenders may be fined up to $5,000, or jailed up to six months, or to both per charge.

MOM stated that members of the public who have any information on EAA infringements should report the matter to MOM via the MOM website (www.mom.gov.sg) under “Contact us” or call 6438 5122. All information will be kept strictly confidential.