4 allegations of workplace discrimination against people with disabilities in past 5 years: MOM

4 allegations of workplace discrimination against people with disabilities in past 5 years: MOM

Parking lot for disabled
File photo of a parking lot for people with disabilities. 

SINGAPORE: There have been four allegations of discrimination against people with disabilities in the past five years, Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said in Parliament on Monday (Sep 10).

Following investigations, however, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) found no evidence of discrimination, he added.

“The main reason for such complaints was due to poor communication and a lack of sensitivity when working with persons with disabilities,” Mr Zaqy explained. 

"All the four cases were closed after TAFEP provided advice to the employers to improve their employment practices."

The four cases were among a total of about 1,600 complaints on workplace issues.

Mr Zaqy was responding to Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC Rahayu Mahzam, who asked about the number of complaints received about job discrimination faced by people with disabilities, and whether the ministry will study the need for an anti-discrimination law to protect such people. 

He said there is no conclusive evidence that anti-discrimination laws necessarily improve the employability of people with disabilities.

“In fact, such laws may have the unintended consequence of deterring employers from hiring them in the first instance. This may happen when employers are fearful that workers cannot be dismissed even with legitimate reasons or that their actions would be misconstrued as being unlawful,” he explained.

Instead, the key to addressing discrimination is to change mindsets - and that goes beyond legislation, Mr Zaqy said. 

He added that all workers who feel that they have been discriminated against should approach TAFEP for advice and assistance. 

"MOM will not hesitate to take action against offending companies or curtail their work pass privileges," he said.

Source: CNA/ja/(gs)