Ad for 'white skin' teacher removed by UAE nursery after backlash

Ad for white skin teacher removed by UAE nursery after backlash

Dubai - The wording was incorrect. It was a mistake; simple human error: HR representative.


Kelly Clarke

Published: Tue 11 Sep 2018, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 12 Sep 2018, 7:16 PM

A nursery group that received a backlash after posting an advert that stated it was looking to recruit a teacher with "white skin" has removed the post from online and apologised for any offence caused.
"The wording was incorrect. It was a mistake; simple human error, and we have taken care of it by deleting the advertisement," Mohammed MJ, HR representative at Happy Jump Nurseries told Khaleej Times on Tuesday.
The original advert, which was live for two days on the 'Jobs in UAE' Facebook group before being removed on Monday, said it was seeking a number of English teachers of "European origin and white skin".
"We were not contacted by any federal department or authority to take the post down, we chose to remove it because we didn't want people to misunderstand the message we were sending out. We are simply looking to diversify our team of staff."
MJ admitted that the post do not undergo "internal approval prior to posting", but refuted claims that the group of nurseries, which has six branches across the UAE, was discriminatory.
"People have been pointing to racism, but I'm a black man, I'm from Somalia. I don't see any racism or discrimination in the company. The wording was simply incorrect. We employ staff based on their skills, qualifications and how they bond with our students, nothing else."
Following the issuance of Law No. 2 of 2015 against Discrimination and Hatred (the "Law"), the UAE now has federal legislation in place, which specifically prohibits all forms of discrimination on the basis of religion, belief, sect, faith, creed, race, colour or ethnic origin (each being a "Protected Characteristic").
Following the advertisement post, some suggested that it violated this law. However Meera Aqwala, the principal of Happy Jump Nursery in Al Ain, said it was a bad choice of words; but reiterated that the intention was not to break any law.
"Maybe the words were wrong on the post but there was no offence intended. I just wanted to post that we were looking to introduce more staff to promote a more diverse team. It is true that most of our staff are black. They come from Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa and they are very hard workers. We just want to mix the team up a bit," she told Khaleej Times.
Following the removal of the initial post, the nursery group has not reposted an edited version. However if it does, "the advertisement will go through the proper internal process before being published", MJ said.

What lawyer says

Speaking to Khaleej Times, a representative lawyer from Al Safar Partners in Dubai said the initial advertisement post clearly violates the Law No. 2 of 2015 against Discrimination and Hatred (the Law).
"The Law is very clear on its definition of discrimination as 'any distinction, restriction, exclusion, or preference among individual or groups based on the ground of religion, creed, doctrine, sect race, colour or ethnic origin'. As this case shows, the law is widely drawn and will hold any person who commits an act of discrimination liable, including the media and any person who places a discriminatory advert."
He said that Article 6 of the Law makes it a criminal offence for "any person who commits an act of discrimination of any form by any means of expression or by any other means" and added that they may face imprisonment of not less than five years and a fine of not less than Dh500,000 but not more than Dh1 million, or either of these two penalties.
"The Law is better known for the prohibition on religious hatred, however as explained above, the law also prohibits discrimination and those who commit an act of discrimination may face very serious criminal penalties."

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