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Allegations of Bias against Singaporeans Top Workers’ Complaint List: TAFEP

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Alleged discrimination based on nationality continued to top the list of complaints received last year by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).

There were about 150 of such complaints – half of the total number of complaints received.

TAFEP has downplayed such complaints, saying they could stem from misunderstandings and not bias.

TAFEP General Manager Roslyn says clear-cut cases of discrimination against Singaporeans are rare, and the feeling boils down to a matter of perception.

“Could they better explain that it’s really about the skills? Because when they hire, they just hire. They don’t really communicate why (they) hire A and not B, and why (they) promote A and not B. It’s because of the domain knowledge… that the employers require, and somehow they couldn’t find them in locals.”

Teh added that Singaporeans probably aren’t as adaptable and versatile as their foreign colleagues, which is why they get passed over for certain positions.

“In some cases, Singaporean jobseekers may have commitments at home, and are reluctant to take up overseas postings or jobs which require frequent travelling… It’s quite difficult for them to take up (these) and (they’re) not as versatile as their foreign colleagues, in terms of being very open to being relocated or just to travel.”

Apart from alleged discrimination based on nationality, one in five complaints was bias linked to age — a similar proportion to alleged discrimination related to language or race.

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