Mon, Jul 23, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Lawmaker draws fire for ‘ageist’ ad

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Yu-hsin attends a graduation ceremony in Hsinchu County on Friday.

Photo: Tsai Meng-shang, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Yu-hsin (楊玉欣) came under fire from labor rights groups yesterday as her office recently posted a vacancy notice which required applicants to be at least 30 years old.

Yang’s office posted hiring notices on bulletin boards in the Legislative Yuan for office assistants. Besides requiring applicants to have background in certain fields and experience working in non-governmental organizations, the notice also required those who intended to apply for the job to be at least 30 years old.

“Requiring job applicants to be of a certain age is discrimination; it’s illegal,” Youth Labor Union 95 spokeswoman Chen Hsiao-wen (陳曉雯) said. “If they absolutely need someone who is 30 years old or above, then the employer must clarify why.”

Chen was referring to Article 5 of the Employment Services Act (就業服務法), which prohibits any employer from discriminating against a job applicant or an employee on the basis of race, social class, language, ideology, religion, political party affiliation, place of origin, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, appearance, facial features, disabilities or union membership.

Labor Rights Association executive director Wang Chuan-ping (王娟萍) said the minimum age requirement was probably set because the office prefers someone with extensive experience.

“But some people may have acquired the relevant experience at school, they may have been concerned about social issues in college and if they are confident that they can handle the job, then why can they not apply?” Wang said. “Applicants should be judged by capability, not age.”

Taiwan Labor Front secretary-general Son Yu-lian (孫友聯) asked labor authorities to impose severe penalties on Yang.

“Lawmakers make the laws and are supposed to know them better than other employers,” he said. “When lawmakers break the law that they made, they should be punished more severely than others.”

Yang was unavailable for comment on the criticism.

Yang’s office director, Lee Li-hsien (李麗仙), responded on the legislator’s behalf, saying the office is looking for someone with experience, but had not noticed that the notice was in violation of the Employment Services Act.

“We’ve already removed the notice, we took it down as soon as we learned it was unlawful,” she said.

Labor activists are upset because this is not the first time that lawmakers have made such mistakes.

In April, KMT caucus whip Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) triggered controversy when his office posted a hiring notice for an office assistant, adding that only female applicants would be considered. Hsu later openly apologized for it.

The Taipei City Department of Labor said it would launch a probe into Yang’s case and take action accordingly.

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