SINGAPORE - The number of workplace discrimination or harassment complaints increased by 42 per cent between April last year and March this year, compared with the same period in the previous year.
One in four complaints made to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) was related to fair consideration for Singaporeans in hiring practices.
One in 10 complaints was related to age discrimination and one in 13 complaints was related to gender discrimination, said the Tripartite Alliance Limited in its annual report released on Wednesday (Oct 21).
Here are three cases detailing how Tafep dealt with unfair hiring and retrenchment practices:
1. Age discrimination
A security agency posted a vacancy for a security officer position, calling for only those under 50 years of age to apply. It had its work pass privileges suspended after Tafep received a complaint from a prospective candidate.
The agency had claimed that the age requirement was due to safety reasons, as candidates had to undergo a certification course for fire and hazmat emergencies.
As there were no legal age requirements for the job or the certification, Tafep asked the agency to remove the job advertisement, sign up for the Tripartite Standards on Recruitment Practices initiative, and post an apology. The company complied.
The case was referred to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which found that the agency did not have valid reasons for imposing the age requirement and suspended its work pass privileges for 12 months.
2. Not considering Singaporeans fairly
A finance and insurance company that pre-selected a foreign candidate for a managerial role at its Singapore office had its work pass privileges suspended for six months, after a human resources manager at the same firm filed a complaint with Tafep.
Tafep found that while the company posted a job advertisement on the MyCareersFuture portal for the minimum period of 14 days stipulated under the Fair Consideration Framework, the pre-selected applicant had signed the employment contract before the advertisement had expired.
The work experience and educational qualifications of the pre-selected applicant, a British national based at the company's London office, also did not meet the advertised requirements.
The advertisement received more than 60 applications, with 28 fulfilling the advertised requirements, but none of the applicants were invited for interviews.
The case was referred to MOM, which suspended the company's work pass privileges for six months.
3. Unfair retrenchment payouts
A non-unionised insurance company reviewed its compensation plans for retrenched staff following Tafep's intervention, after it was made known that the company had capped the retrenchment payout at 12 years of service.
Tafep found that out of more than 40 laid-off employees, about 15 per cent would be affected by the cap, and advised the chief executive officer of the firm on the importance of providing fair retrenchment benefits, among other things.
The company removed the 12-year cap and provided a lower quantum beyond 12 years of service without a cap. It also engaged an outplacement agency and worked with the National Trades Union Congress to find jobs for affected staff.