Singapore

More firms being investigated for discriminatory hiring practices

Watchdog investigated 260 cases in first half of year, 60% more than same period last year

More employers are being investigated for possible discriminatory hiring practices, according to a report on employment practices released yesterday.

The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep), the national watchdog on fair employment, investigated about 260 cases of such practices in the first half of this year, 60 per cent more than the 160 cases in the same period last year.

Some 90 employers eventually had their work pass privileges suspended because of discriminatory hiring practices as at August this year, up from 35 for the full year of 2019.

This means the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) barred them from hiring new foreigners or renewing the work passes of existing foreign staff for a period of time.

About 43 per cent of them were identified through data analytics as part of MOM's proactive investigation efforts. The remaining 57 per cent were identified based on complaints received by the ministry and Tafep, said an MOM spokesman in response to media queries.

The spokesman said the ministry's analytics model helps it proactively identify employers who may have pre-selected foreigners when hiring or not adhered to the spirit of the Fair Consideration Framework job advertising requirement when submitting Employment Pass applications.

Errant employers that breach the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices will be barred from hiring new foreign workers or renewing existing ones for 12 months to 24 months, under stiffer penalties for discriminatory hiring beginning this year.

Ms Christine Loh, director of MOM's employment standards enforcement department, said in a media statement that the ministry will continue to raise awareness of employment rights and obligations.

"MOM will also remain vigilant in investigating discriminatory practices and will take errant employers to task so as to build fair workplaces for all Singaporeans," she said.

DISCRIMINATION

Yesterday's report by MOM, Tafep and the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management said that perceptions of discrimination appear to have been going up, based on a ministry survey in 2018.

The percentage of those who felt there was discrimination during their job search process rose to 15 per cent in 2018, up from 10 per cent in 2014.

Age-related discrimination remained the most commonly perceived form, while the biggest percentage point increase in perceived discrimination was based on personal characteristics of gender and number of children.

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Report also found...

$23 million Owed salaries recovered for claims filed between Jan 1 last year and June 30 this year

90% Employees who lodged salary claims (Jan 1 last year to June 30 this year) who fully recovered their salaries at the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management or the Employment Claims Tribunals

75 Claims about dismissal during pregnancy (April 1 last year to June 30 this year)

1,431 Claims for wrongful dismissal (April 1 last year to June 30 this year)

33 Dismissal claims (April 1 last year to June 30 this year) under Section 14 of the Employment Act, by managers and executives newly covered under the Act since April 1 last year

Employment