Employers are reminded that support for any cause should not lead to bullying, harassment or ostracism at the workplace in any circumstances.
Around the world, employers and employees are doing more to support various causes within the workplace domain, where individuals of different backgrounds and beliefs work.
NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay explains: "Often, these activities are held in support of causes unrelated to the business of the employer, or the job that employees are hired to do. As a result, misunderstandings and friction arising from different backgrounds and beliefs can occur."
Recognising that such cases must be managed, Singapore's tripartite labour partners, are looking to enhance the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP) with additional guidelines for employers and employees on exercising sensitivity at the workplace, with regard to activities that are not related to work.
With the full set expected to launch in mid-Feb 2023, the enhanced guidelines will emphasise the building and maintaining of a harmonious workplace, where individuals of different backgrounds, abilities and beliefs feel valued, engaged, and respected.
For the moment, ahead of the full launch, the following guidelines have already been rolled out, to remind employers and employees to create a culture where they can thrive, regardless of their values and beliefs. Per the statement by Ministry of Manpower (MOM): "Employers are expected to abide by the principles of fair employment practices set out in the TGFEP, including these additional guidelines."
These are the guidelines listed out on exercising sensitivity at the workplace, for activities that are not related to work:
- Employers should be sensitive to the diverse cultures, values and beliefs of their employees when developing, promoting or implementing events, programmes and policies that are not related to work.
- Support for any cause should not lead to bullying, harassment or ostracism at the workplace in any circumstances. Employers should provide employees with a safe environment to raise their concerns, including through a proper grievance handling process.
- Employees should be assessed for performance, promotion and related areas based only on work-related requirements, as stipulated in the TGFEP.
- Employees should not be required or pressured to participate in events, programmes and policies that are not related to work. Non-support or non-participation should not affect their employment outcomes.
- Employers should continue to demonstrate and communicate the importance of an inclusive and harmonious workplace.
ASG Tay adds: "This updated set of TGFEP guidelines will tee up to the upcoming workplace fairness piece of legislation which the tripartite workgroup is still discussing and working out," whilst affirming that NTUC does not tolerate, condone nor approve of any discriminatory and unfair practices in the workplace and will not hesitate to red-flag such practices.
Employers who require advice or assistance in managing sensitivities at the workplace, or employees who wish to report instances of non-compliance with the TGFEP can reach out to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP). The TAFEP team will look into the reports, and refer cases of non-compliance to MOM for investigation. MOM may curtail work pass privileges of non-compliant employers.
Lead image / Shutterstock