We welcome the affirmation by medical professionals that once appropriate tuberculosis (TB) treatment is initiated, a person could be certified fit to return to work while continuing his treatment ("Dismissing staff with TB worsens stigma of disease" by the National University Hospital, the National University of Singapore and Tan Tock Seng Hospital, and "Overreaction may deter others from seeking early treatment" by the Society of Infectious Disease (Singapore), the Academy of Medicine, Singapore and the Infection Control Association (Singapore); both published on Monday).
Dismissing a worker solely because of TB is, therefore, not the appropriate action.
The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices has urged the pre-school concerned to adopt a more caring and sensitive approach in handling the current situation.
We understand it has not dismissed or terminated the contract of the affected teacher. She is currently on medical leave. The pre-school is seeking medical advice and will allow her to return to duty when she is certified to be medically fit.
It is important for employers to treat their employees fairly under all circumstances. It is also important to safeguard the health and safety of children.
Hence, employees with TB must likewise act responsibly, in particular, to honestly declare their medical condition and receive treatment prescribed by doctors.
Most importantly, affected employees should return to work only after being medically certified fit to do so.
Responsible employees, caring employers and understanding customers, working together, are necessary to provide a fair and supportive environment for all workers, including those who have been afflicted with TB.
Roslyn Ten (Mrs)
Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices