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Serena in hot water over job AD for foreigners only

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Serene Suites recruitment drive halted over ‘racist’ advert

KAMPALA (URN, THE OBSERVER) – The Equal Opportunities Commission has asked Mutundwe-based Serene Suites to explain the basis of a job advert in which they ring-fenced top managerial jobs for specific racial groups.

Equal Opportunities Commission is a statutory body established to eliminate discrimination and inequalities against any individual or group of persons on the ground of sex, age, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion…

Serene Suites

Yesterday, New Vision carried a job advert by Serene hotel in which they indicated that the preferred a white hotel manager and an Indian restaurant manager. The advert triggered public ire and ridicule for discriminating against local labour.

Other jobs advertised which were not ring-fenced for whites and Indians include; waitresses and waiters, kitchen chefs, receptionists, pool attendants, gym instructor, housekeepers, outside cleaners, social media manager, car drivers, boda-boda motorcycle rider, saloon attendant, gardener, accountant and human resource manager.

Secretary to the Equal Opportunities Commission Mujuni Lawrence in a letter dated February 12, asked the hotel manager/proprietor to explain why they specifically want to give the two top jobs to the groups they indicated.

“You are hereby ordered to make a written explanation as to why your hotel seeks to recruit for the mentioned positions taking into account the prospective applicant’s race and origin. The written explanation must reach the commission by close of business on Thursday, February 15, 2018,” the letter reads.

The commission noted that Article 21 of the Constitution of Uganda prohibits discrimination based on race, colour or ethnic origin.

“Discrimination on these grounds is also prohibited in several provisions of the Equal Opportunities Commission Act of 2017. Section 6 of the Employment Act specifically prohibits discrimination in employment…the commission, therefore, found your advert discriminatory and an affront to the concept of equal opportunities,” the letter further reads.

The commission further ordered to halt the recruitment process until when hotel management is cleared.

According to its website, Serene Suites is located within a 10-minute drive from Kampala city centre. Three years ago, a private citizen Kenneth Kaggwa dragged Shell and Bolton International Ltd, a hospitality and construction firm, to the Constitutional court over a similar job advert.

Kaggwa said that the advert was discriminative against Ugandans in what is supposed to be an impartial local job market.

The advert calling for applicants for the position of an administrative assistant who “must be a foreigner (Indian, Phillipino, white),” ran on page 49 of The New Vision newspaper on October 20, 2014. It attracted criticism from the general public.

Kaggwa later stated that the advert was racist and contradicted several provisions of the Constitution as well as the employment act which bar prejudice in race, colour, and national extract and social origin.

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