Knight Frank retracts and reissues security tender documents over age discrimination

The firm was flagged for ageist clauses in security tenders for two condominiums, Sky @ Eleven (left) and Spring Grove. PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI, SPRING GROVE

SINGAPORE - Knight Frank Property Management said on Wednesday (June 22) that it has retracted and reissued tender documents for ageist hiring requirements at two condominiums, Sky @ Eleven and Spring Grove Condominium.

This comes after the firm was flagged on Monday (June 20) for ageist clauses in two separate security tenders for Spring Grove condominium in Grange Road and Sky @ Eleven in Thomson Road.

In both tenders, Knight Frank had stipulated a maximum age of security officers permitted to work. In the Spring Grove Condominium tender contract, workers could also be dismissed without justification.

The firm said both breaches came from a staff member using an outdated template from a previous project saved on the desktop to prepare the new tender.

Knight Frank said all tender templates in its central depository have been updated and more frequent site audits would be implemented to avoid a recurrence of this mistake.

The property firm added that it will continue to work closely with the relevant associations and regulatory authorities to ensure operations are in adherence to the industry's best practices.

It added: "We apologise for any misunderstanding and the unnecessary stress caused to persons in the security services industry."

In a Facebook post on Monday, the Security Association Singapore said Knight Frank's tender documents for security services at both condominiums stipulated maximum ages for security officers to be hired.

In the Sky @ Eleven tender, it stipulated that only security officers between the ages of 21 and 60 should be hired.

For Spring Grove condominium, the tender said only those between the ages of 21 and 55 were to be hired.

Additionally, a clause that permitted the immediate removal of an employee at the management's discretion was included.

According to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) guidelines, employers are expected to select employees on the basis of merit.

The guidelines also state that employers are advised to avoid using age as a selection criterion for hiring "unless you are bound by legal or regulatory requirements. In such cases, you may state this upfront".

Failure to abide by Tafep standards could lead to companies' work pass privileges being revoked.

According to The Business Times, Savills Property Management had its work pass privileges revoked by the Ministry of Manpower for discrimination against non-Mandarin speakers and older workers in its tender for security services last September.

Noting the recent transgressions, the Union of Security Employees (USE) president Ardi Amir said: "Buyers typically discriminate against officers by gender or age, and often insist on one-sided clauses to remove any officer they wish to immediately.

"USE strongly condemns such discriminatory practices which remain commonplace in outsourced security contracts despite repeated outreach and education by tripartite partners."

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