Recruiters should be careful when posting job positions so as not to land themselves in hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA). In a recent incident, a respondent using the industry news website Bizcommunity, had to issue an apology for posting a job position with “Native English Speaker” as a requirement.

Excluding applicants on the basis of language, race or ethnicity

Mr Zibi lodged a consumer complaint against an advertisement which appeared on the website’s job listings. Among the advertised requirements was, “Native English speaking”.

Zibi claimed that the advertisement is discriminatory on the basis of language, which is a violation of the South African constitution and labour law.

The respondent in the matter claimed that the advertisement had already reached its expiry date and that the phrase is common. However, after having had internal talks around the issue, they decided to amend the advertisement to avoid any future types of these complaints. The amendment involved changing the position requirement to “Exceptional English writing and communication skills”, which they believed should address the issue.

Tread lightly

Although it was a small incident, it should not be treated casually, since some people may not be satisfied with an apology. The damage it could potential do to a company’s image should also not be underestimated. A simple error may lead to an extensive amount of time being taken to rectify the problem, which means a loss of money.


This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)