Employers must recruit and select employees on the basis of merit (such as skills, experience or ability to perform the job), and regardless of age, race, gender, religion, marital status and family responsibilities, or disability, treat employees fairly, provide employees with equal opportunities and reward employees fairly.
Extent of Protection
Employers are required to abide by the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, which set outs restrictions against discriminatory hiring practices. While these guidelines are not legally enforceable, they are highly persuasive and failure to abide by these may result in enforcement actions taken against the employer. Such actions may include having the employer’s work pass privileges curtailed.
Protections Against Harassment
The Protection from Harassment Act of Singapore covers acts of harassment within and outside the workplace. The TAFEP has published the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Workplace Harassment, which employers should abide by. This includes following the recommendations below to prevent and respond to harassment at the workplace:
- develop a harassment prevention policy;
- provide information and training on workplace harassment;
- implement reporting and response procedures.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide Reasonable Accommodations
While there are no specific statutory obligations regarding this, employers should keep in mind their general obligations to hire on the basis of merit, as well as their duty to ensure the health and safety of their employees in the workplace.
Any discriminatory job advertisements or human resource practices may be reported to the TAFEP.
Where an employee has been dismissed on discriminatory grounds based on age, race, gender, religion, marital status and family responsibilities or disability, the employee may file a wrongful dismissal claim with the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management.
If the dismissal is deemed to be wrongful, the employer may be ordered to reinstate the employee to the employee’s former job and pay the employee for any loss of income due to the wrongful dismissal or pay the employee monetary compensation.
Employers should also adopt the following fair employment practices:
- recruit and select employees on the basis of merit (such as skills, experience or ability to perform the job), regardless of age, race, gender, religion, marital status and family responsibilities, or disability.
- treat employees fairly and with respect, and implement progressive human resource management systems.
- provide employees with an equal opportunity to be considered for training and development based on their strengths and needs, to help them achieve their full potential.
- reward employees fairly based on their ability, performance, contribution and experience.
- abide by labour laws and adopt the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.