Forum: Proposed workplace fairness law needs to be all-inclusive
We agree with Ms Corinna Lim’s views in the opinion piece, “Workplace fairness proposals could be fairer” (March 22).
In the commentary, the executive director of the Association of Women for Action and Research said that Singapore’s workplace fairness Act should have anti-discrimination policies that include everyone.
The interim report by the Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness for the planned Workplace Fairness Legislation covers only five categories of characteristics for protection.
The categories covered are: age; nationality; sex, marital status, pregnancy status, caregiving responsibilities; race, religion, language; and disability and mental health conditions.
Several important categories are excluded, including medical conditions, physical attributes and sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Excluding these categories means that in theory, an aggrieved employee may have to split his claims into those that fall under the proposed Workplace Fairness Legislation and those that do not, if he wants to seek redress.
The existing Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices framework recognises, as a fundamental principle, that protection against all forms of workplace discrimination is important to promote a fair and merit-based employment ecosystem. This principle needs to be translated into the proposed legislation.
Action for AIDS has previously called on the Government to formulate the law to protect all employees from discrimination based on characteristics which do not impact the individual’s ability to work.
We call on the Government to legislate an all-inclusive anti-discrimination law to promote a fair and merit-based employment ecosystem to ensure that no worker is left behind.
Roy Chan Kum Wah (Professor)
President, Action for AIDS Singapore
Executive Director, Oogachaga