Human Resources



Here’s why you shouldn’t discriminate at work

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Although Singapore lacks anti-discriminatory laws, employers should still remain fair when attracting and retaining talent.

Tan Chuan-Jin, Singapore’s Acting Manpower Minister, said while the local government is not ruling out implementing anti-discriminatory law, the law itself is not a “silver bullet”.

He believes anti-discriminatory laws will fix the symptoms rather than the problem, adding discrimination is “something that we constantly got to work at”.

Workplace discrimination has been highlighted thanks to the antics of many companies in recent years. Here’s a look back at some of the more memorable ones:

Australian employers and their “lookism” syndrome
In 2012, Human Resources ran a story about Australian employers’ tendency to hire based on looks. Because only one Australian state banned discrimination during hiring, companies Down Under are free to chuck out a candidate if they feel their looks don’t match the company’s image.

Clash of the titles
In Europe, research is suggesting more feminine sounding job titles such as “policewoman” and “chairwoman” are doing more harm than good when it comes to banishing discrimination. The study claimed “emphasising femaleness with a feminine title may lower the evaluation of women in a professional context”.

“Hi, I’m Susan, and I’m a C cup”
One company in Sweden landed itself in hot water after an employee filed a complaint for having to display her bra cup size on her badge. While the company claimed the move was to showcase the store’s wide range of products, the employee won S$9,750 in damages and legal fees.

Woman told to stay in the kitchen
A female employee won S$23,498 after a male colleague told her to cook as “that is woman’s work”. He also insulted her after asking about her sex life and slapping her bottom. The female employee resigned before finding out the bully was issued a 12-month written warning.

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