Five employers have been penalised for placing job advertisements that discriminated against age, or showed preference for a particular age group.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement yesterday that it has barred these employers from hiring foreign employees and from renewing the work passes of their existing foreign employees for 12 months, with immediate effect.
The errant employers are education centre Wisdomtree Learning Centre, event company Outshinerz Events, security company Security & Risk Solutions, and two beauty salon and spa businesses, Incredible Service Doc and IDOC Pte Ltd.
The five are the first employers taken to task for age-related discrimination under the stiffer penalties framework which came into force in January.
Wisdomtree had advertised for a senior Chinese teacher, and stated its preference for candidates younger than 30 years old.
MOM found that this was because the centre wanted "energetic" teachers who could engage the students. It said that Wisdomtree should have hired based on merit, which in this case would involve the candidate's ability to connect with students.
"All candidates, regardless of age, should be given a fair opportunity to be considered for a job," the ministry said.
MOM said that the number of workplace discrimination cases has fallen in recent years.
Complaints about age, race or gender discrimination fell from 240 cases in 2016 to around 125 last year. Of these, age-discrimination complaints were the most common. The number of these complaints halved from 100 in 2016 to about 50 last year.
Ms Christine Loh, director of employment standards enforcement at MOM's labour relations and workplaces division, said: "We must continue our efforts to weed out employers who persist in discriminatory practices... When employers hire fairly, they can access a wider talent pool and ensure the best available person gets the job."
Those with information on employers with discriminatory hiring or workplace practices should report them to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices on its website.
All information will be kept confidential.