“Employer discrimination is a poison”

One MP has called on the Ministry of Manpower to address its strategies on workplace discrimination

Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leon Perera probed the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) about how it tackled discriminatory HR practices.
 
Talking in parliament on Monday (9 May), Perera was interested in MOM’s enforcement powers when investigating referrals from the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) for employers who may be discriminating against age or gender.
 
The Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Puck responded by detailing the laws currently in place to protect against these types of practices.
 
“Under the Retirement and Re-employment Act, an employer cannot dismiss an employee on the grounds of age,” he said.
 
“The Employment Act and Child Co-Savings Development Act also protect female employees from being dismissed without sufficient cause during any stage of their pregnancy.”
 
Teo continued, saying that MOM and the Tripartite partners expect employers to implement fair employment practices in line with the TAFEP guidelines.
 
“This is why TAFEP, as the advocate and champion for fair employment practices, takes an active role in looking into complaints of such unfair employment practices and refers cases to MOM for enforcement if found to be true.”
 
The Ministry takes a serious view of all types of employment discrimination, Teo added, saying that it will take appropriate enforcement action under any of the above Acts.
 
“MOM can also suspend their work pass privileges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act,” Teo said.
 
Perera then asked a supplementary question about the enforcement tools used for discrimination referred by TAFEP.
 
Teo replied saying that in most cases, companies rectify their practices after an investigation by MOM.
 
In a later Facebook post, Perera wrote that “most cases” did not include all of them. Furthermore, not all cases of discrimination may lead to a formal complaint, he added.
 
“Employer discrimination – whether for age, gender, race, language, religion or disability status – is a poison that can corrode our national unity,” he said.
 
“We need to ensure that enforcement agencies have the right powers to take action against proven discriminatory employers.”
 
Related stories:
 
Anti-discrimination measures working well, says MOM
 
Singapore HR directors hit back at nationality-based benefits comments
 
MPs call for action on Singapore’s main manpower flaws

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