Equality champion Roman’s bill meant to protect workers’ rights

A known equality champion in the House of Representatives is seeking the enactment of a measure that would safeguard the rights of employees. Bataan 1st district Rep. Geraldine Roman filed House Bill (HB) No.532 or the proposed “Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 2022”.

It aims to establish an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which shall be tasked to resolve cases of unlawful employment practices or discrimination.

In her explanatory note of the bill, Roman said it is a given that employees are never on equal footing with their employers. Citing the labor surplus in the country and lack of legislation, Roman said employees are often subjected to discrimination in the guise of “sound business judgment”.

Other forms of discrimination include the use of a certain set of criteria to fix rates of pay or even for purposes of promotion.

“The State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare,” said Roman, chairperson of the House Committee on Gender Equality.

The solon from Bataan said that even with all the current laws in place, there persists a problem in the labor sector in which the employees are often left with no recourse – discrimination.

One of the key provisions of the measure stipulates that it shall be unlawful for a job contractor to fail or refuse to refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or national origin.

The Roman bill makes it an unlawful employment practice for any employer, labor organization, or those organizations with apprenticeship or learning programs, including on-the-job training programs to discriminate against any individual.

Furthermore, the burden of proof shall lie with the complaining party to demonstrate that the respondent uses a particular employment practice that causes a disparate impact on the basis of race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or national origin and that the respondent fails to demonstrate that the challenged practice is job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.

Any person or persons of employers, job contractors, labor organizations, or employers with apprenticeship or learning program responsible for committing the unlawful employment practice shall suffer: a) Imprisonment of not less than three months but not more than six months, or a fine of not less than P200,000, but not more than P400,000), or both, for first time offenders; b) Imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than one year, or a fine of not less than P400,000 but not more than P600,000, or both, for second-time offenders; or c) Imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than three years, or a fine of not less than P600,000 but not more than P1,000,000, or both, for third-time offenders with a penalty of closure in all instances.

Link: https://mb.com.ph/2022/11/14/equality-champion-romans-bill-meant-to-protect-workers-rights/ 


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