[Cover picture: Nikkei]
A Kaohsiung City Government councilor, and a spokesman for a prisoner rehabilitation group spoke out today against a clause in Taiwan High Speed Rail’s tender contracts that prohibit contractors from employing people with criminal records.
Kaohsiung City councilor Lina Chen (陳麗娜) said the restriction was discriminatory, unlawful, and unconstitutional. Councilor Chen requested THSR to remove the discriminatory clause or she will report the company to the Control Yuan.
A spokesperson for a prisoner rehabilitation group, Liu Jia-guo (劉嘉國) said the THSR policy was not only discriminatory, but repulsive.
Kaohsiung City Labor Affairs Bureau explained that people with criminal records are not mentioned in section 5 of the Employment Services Act, which guarantees equal opportunity in employment. The Labor Affairs Bureau will take the issue up with the Ministry of Labor in order to safeguard the employment rights of rehabilitated offenders.
Ms Chen pointed out that THSR’s 2015-2016 corporate responsibility report made provisions for inclusive staff appointments and contributing to the development of an ethical and caring society. Chen then contrasted this with samples of tender contracts containing the discriminatory clauses.
Mr Liu said that the most important thing a released rehabilitated offender needs when he or she leaves prison and is readmitted to society, is more job opportunities. The clauses in the THSR contracts deny released offenders an opportunity to reform and instead push them in the other direction.
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