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04. Anti-Discrimination Laws
Employment Law Overview Philippines

04. Anti-Discrimination Laws


In the process of hiring, the employer’s qualification standards, employment tests or other selection criteria must not be discriminatory in the sense that they are job-related for the position in question and are consistent with business necessity.

Meanwhile, in case of dismissal, employers cannot terminate employees on the sole ground of their sex or disability, as such amounts to discrimination and violation of employees’ security of tenure. Employees may only be terminated on just and authorized causes as set forth in the Labor Code.

A number of laws currently in force directly address discriminatory practices in the workplace, such as:

  • Solo Parents’ Welfare Act (Republic Act No. 8972): No employer shall discriminate against any solo parent employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status.
  • Labor Code and the Magna Carta for Women (Republic Act No. 9710): It is unlawful for any employer to discriminate against any woman employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment solely on account of her sex.
  • Magna Carta for Persons with Disability (Republic Act No. 7277, as amended): No entity, whether public or private, shall discriminate against a qualified person with disability by reason of disability.
  • Mental Health Act (Republic Act No. 11036): Penalizes any form of discrimination against persons with mental health condition.
  • Labor Code regarding labor unions: Prohibits discrimination as to terms and conditions of work in order to encourage/discourage unionism. Employers cannot also discriminate against an employee for having given or being about to give testimony.
  • Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act (Republic Act No. 10911): Prohibits discrimination on account of age such as declining employment application because of age.

Protections Against Harassment

The Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 makes employers duty-bound to prevent or deter the commission of acts of sexual harassment and to provide the procedures for the resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts of sexual harassment in the workplace. Under such law, the employer or head of office shall be solidarily liable for damages arising from the acts of sexual harassment committed in the employment if the employer or head of office is informed of such acts by the offended party and no immediate action is taken thereon.

Meanwhile, Safe Spaces Act (Republic Act No. 11313) prohibits gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace and imposes upon employers the duty to prevent, deter, or punish such acts.

Employer’s Obligation to Provide Reasonable Accommodations

Under the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, reasonable accommodations include:

  • Improvement of existing facilities used by employees in order to render these readily accessible to and usable by disabled persons; and
  • Modification of work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustments or modifications of examinations, training materials or company policies, rules and regulations, the provision of auxiliary aids and services, and other similar accommodations for disabled persons.

Under the said law, it is not discriminatory for employers to terminate the employment of a person with disability on the ground of disability if the employer can prove that the satisfactory performance of the work involved is impaired to the prejudice of the business. However, the employer must have sought to provide reasonable accommodations first for persons with disability.


The penalties imposed under the Labor Code for the violations of its provisions such as commission of discriminatory practices constitute imprisonment, fine, or both, with the fine ranging from USD 20 to 200.

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