Shell and Bolton Sued Over ‘Racist Job Aert’

A private citizen has dragged a hospitality and construction firm to the Constitutional court over a job aertisement that literally barred Ugandans from applying.

In his petition filed on November 7, Kenneth Kaggwa says the aert that Shell and Bolton International Ltd ran in a local newspaper was discriminative against Ugandans in what is supposed to be an impartial local job market.

The aert, calling for applicants for the position of administrative assistant who “must be a foreigner (Indian, Phillipino, white),” ran on page 49 of The New Vision newspaper on October 20, 2014.

Through Tropical Law Aocates, Kaggwa argues that the “racist” aert is not only inconsistent with several provisions of Uganda’s Constitution, but also contravenes the Employment Act of 2006.

“The qualified Ugandans, university graduates with bachelor’s degree of business administration, office management skills and other related fields were denied a right to fair and equal treatment prior and after the passing of the aert, which is contravention of the principle of equal treatment to be enjoyed by all persons under the law,” reads the petition.

Damage control

After the aert drew public criticism, Shell and Bolton ran a public notice saying it already has a Ugandan administrative assistant and only wanted to get somebody to attend to their non-African clients. However, Kaggwa says the company’s public notice also contravenes Articles 21, 24, 32 and 40 of the Constitution and the Employment Act.

“The public notice also promotes distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, colour or social origin as it infers that Ugandans do not attend to clients who are not African or, in the alternative, non-African clients of the respondent [Shell and Bolton International Limited] are only attended to by non-African staff of the respondent,” he says.

Proposed remedies

Kaggwa wants court to order Shell and Bolton to re-aertise the said vacancy without prejudice in race, colour, and national extract and social origin. Kaggwa also wants the company to avail a true inventory of its employment records to the ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, the labour aisory board and the National Organisation of Trade Unions.

He says that the above institutions should ascertain whether non-Ugandans are given jobs at Shell and Bolton due to lack of competent qualified Ugandans. Last month, the Internal Affairs ministry said that it had opened investigation into the operations of the company. The investigations were to focus on tax fraud and illegal employment of foreigners.

Source : The Observer

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