Legality of photos as a requirement for job applications

I’m curious about the legality of requiring a photo as part of an application. Shouldn’t this be a violation of Taiwanese labor law that says no employer shall discriminate based on race, gender, appearance, creed, ect (I don’t remember the exact wording but it’s openly available in english on an official taiwanese government website). So wouldn’t requiring a photo in order to apply or be considered for an interview be a clear violation of this?

I tried to email the Taiwan Economic Office asking for clarification, but they never responded to me. If a teacher applies without a photo, then never gets a response or interview after finally sending one after the school asks, could this be considered discrimination? How would someone go about reporting it?

I’m just curious since anti discrimination is a part of the law

I agree with you that photos generally shouldn’t be required on CVs/resumes (the first I heard of this was in Germany, where it’s also standard), as the purpose is clearly discrimination with respect to appearance/race.

I don’t think you’d get far with reporting/complaining about this, though.

1 Like

I think appearance and grooming are important for some jobs. I would choose the attractive, well-groomed applicant over another all else being equal.

1 Like

Sure, of course, but you would determine that during the interview right? Requiring a photo implies that you’re rejecting the applicant based on physical appearance alone. If you decide to not offer a position to candidate based on their appearance during an interview, then it’d be much more difficult to prove. During the interview, it could be any number of reasons which as an employer, you would not be required to disclose.

Having the picture as a requirement is a lot more clear that the rejection was due to race, age, ect. Does that make sense?

Depends on the job, doesn’t it? Some kindies might not want to hire old men. :idunno:


I wouldn’t say that because, well, the application is more than a photo. Plus you wouldn’t want to hire someone that looked like Hitler for a public relations job. Why waste everyone’s time?

Well it doesn’t matter if the law protects them doesn’t it. That’s textbook discrimination isn’t it?

1 Like

Look, I can understand some of the rationale. Seriously I can. But anti discrimination is written into Taiwan law which means that it should be enforced and that the protections it provides should extend regardless of personal beliefs.

According to the law, not hiring someone based on how they look is illegal. I’m sure there are some exceptions like there are in the USA with similar laws. But I’m not entirely sure in Taiwan which is why I posted this in the legal forum

1 Like

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: laws enforced with any kind of diligence?

1 Like

Maybe. Or it’s a time saver. :idunno:

Don’t know why you’re trying to defend racism, sexism, ageism when the point is that there is already a law in place.

So what exactly is the point of your replies dude? You’re not saying anything constructive whatsoever and just sort of revealing yourself as a racist, or a sexist or someone who is ageist. That’s because, like I said earlier, this is a question about law and it’s enforcement and you haven’t said anything related to law whatsoever.

Only thing you’ve said is justification for why you or others should be allowed to openly discriminate. That’s not even relevant to the question I asked.

If you had something along the lines of “unfortunately, there’s no legal recourse or avenue for reporting discrimination despite the law” now that would have been constructive.

1 Like

I’m not. At all.

It’s just more rationale. Reel the projection in a bit. As a Stoic, knee jerkiness is a no no. :wink:

When we ran our school, we got lots of resumes with pics. Didn’t mean much one way or another. We interviewed the best candidates and chose from the ones we thought would fit into our system.

1 Like

I’m not knee jerking or being emotional, I’m trying to explain rationally.

For one there is plenty of evidence available that humans carry implicit bias based on appearance. So even if it seems like the photos mean nothing or carry no weight, they in actuality do, they just carry weight subconsciously.

This is not an opinion but based on a litany of peer reviewed research. This will, of course, still happen without pictures during the interview. However, other psychological factors such as principals based on time investment would increase the likelihood of candidates who would otherwise have been marginalized gain a more equal standing.

The main point of these types of laws is to preserve and maintain, as much as possible, a meritocracy. That means the best, most capable workers being selected.

There’s no reason an old man wouldn’t be equally qualified to teach kindergarten as an old women or young woman or young man. Requiring a photo undermines the ideals of the meritocracy and disadvantages individuals based on factors beyond their control.

But most importantly, I never asked this question in order to debate the necessity or justification of the law that’s in place. I asked whether requiring the photo was legal and if not how people could go about reporting the violation.

If it is legal and that’s what you’re arguing, you aren’t doing so from a legal stand point which, like I said earlier, is not constructive


That is debatable. Employers want the best person for the position, not necessarily the most capable.

Point taken. :bowing:

1 Like

If, like you say, people will discriminate regardless, wouldn’t you rather send your pic first and avoid a useless interview? Would you want to work there?

I wouldn’t.

AFAIK - It’s not illegal to request a photo. You are not obligated to provide one. Don’t expect an interview if you can’t follow instructions.

Agree with @Chief . Providing a CV with photo, whether we like it or not, is common practice in Asia and not complying will result in your CV file moving directly into the trash bin. Talking about the countries in Asia that I have worked in so far, requesting for it was not illegal.

Based on my experience selecting staff with other (Asian) colleagues, I have no memory of photos being used to discriminate people based on race or perceived beauty. They mostly serve as a reminder of who the candidate is after seeing tens of them, simply put.

1 Like

Photos seems unnecessary unless we are talking certain jobs like entertainment.

Plus, not everyone is photogenic. Some people look a lot better in photos than in person while some the other way around. It seems like you can just see the person during the interview process and see if it’s that important.

1 Like

:smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile:

Teaching in Taiwan is not supposed to be meritocratic.

It is PT Barnum. And when a circus is hiring a bearded lady or some other freak, they want pics.

In Taiwan, they will always choose a blonde, blue eyed specimen of the Asian stereotype of what Western looks should be for buxiban work. It is what the market, dictated by the parents, wants.

If you want meritocracy; go to an industry that respects talent. Not one fueled by parents and their unrealistic expectations of language acquisition for their offspring.


Yup. If you’re good looking, it probably helps even if they don’t ask for it. I also put my birthday on my most recent CV, although both that and the photo would be considered unprofessional in Canada, because I’m at the Asian sweet spot of not-too-old and not-too-young. It seems to have paid off…

lol I literally bought juggling balls today

1 Like

Right, so, if we could all stick to the question of the legal issue here and put the rants and raves about the job market aside, that would be great. :rainbow:

Just one thing first though:

can’t =/= won’t

The main thing is Art. 5 of the Employment Service Act.

This issue has come up before, as has the general question of how to deal with discrimination. I think @Marco put some resources together in another thread.