Sat, Apr 14, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Tattoo? Forget joining the army, police

By Tsai Wei-chi and Lo Tien-bin  /  Staff reporters

Despite stating last year that facial profiling, tattoos, pregnancy or other restrictions on candidates for the police or military academies would be considered discrimination against job-seekers, the Taipei City Government’s Department of Labor said yesterday it still finds some government agencies have not removed notices to this effect from recruitment pamphlets.

According to the department, this year’s recruitment booklets for the Ministry of National Defense’s military academies continue to state that those who have tattoos or have had both ovaries removed may not apply.

“We are not ruling out pressing fines of between NT$30,000 [US$1,017] and NT$1.5 million if the academies do not amend their recruitment booklets next year,” the department said.

The division chief of Taipei City’s labor department, Huang Ai-chen (黃愛真), quoted from last year’s Taiwan Police College booklet: Those with facial blemishes, including freckles and birthmarks exceeding 2cm in length, are listed among those disqualified for the job, adding that the military academies also refuse those who are married, pregnant, have a legal obligation to raise children, have undergone phalloplasty or uterectomy, have tattoos, or have had both ovaries removed.

Huang said the city’s Employment Discrimination Evaluation Committee has reviewed and found the restrictions to be discriminatory, adding that though many of the points previously mentioned had improved this year, there were still a few points that the committee found unsatisfactory.

Department of Labor Affairs Commissioner Chen Yeh-shin (陳業鑫) said tattoos would not necessarily impact on an individual’s ability to gather intelligence or reflect certain social views.

The ministry’s objection to those who had had both ovaries removed, on the grounds of being subject to physical limitations could, according to the professional opinion of the Taiwan Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology, be mitigated through medical treatment.

Besides, physical requirements vary depending on the different military units, and it was unreasonable to claim that those with a poorer physique would not be able to excel in all military roles, Chen said, suggesting that the ministry impose restrictions that were in accord with the job requirements of the relevant positions.

However, senior officers in the military yesterday did not agree with the department’s opinions.

The military or the police are special systems employing the young and strong manpower to protect the public and the country, they said. If the removal of organs would not affect physical conditions, they are welcome to join but if the removal of organs impact the body and causes the person to be unable to maintain battle-readiness, it would be hard to find a use for them even if they did become part of the military or the police, they said.

Ministry of National Defense spokesman Colonel David Lo (羅紹和) said the ministry has removed that conditional requirement from this year’s recruitment booklet, adding those who had had only one of their ovaries removed or suffered penile injuries that did not affect urinary capability were considered to meet the accepted normal physical standard and would still be eligible to apply for military academy examinations.

As for those who have had both their ovaries removed, the ministry would refer to other countries’ procedures and use this as a basis for later regulations, he said.

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