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House seeks to punish more acts of job discrimination vs women

MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers approved on second reading a bill that would penalize discrimination against women in the hiring process as well as denying them employment benefits by reason of gender.

On Wednesady, August 15, the House of Representatives gave its approval to House Bill 6769 through viva voce voting or a vote of ayes and nays. This means the measure will have to go through a third and final reading to hurdle the lower chamber.  

HB 6769 seeks to amend Article 133 of the Labor Code of the Philippines to explicitly include the following as discriminatory acts against women subject to penalties:

Section 135 of the Labor Code would also be amended to say that it would be unlawful for an employer to “deny any woman the employment benefits provided under our laws by reason of her sex.” (READ: Change in company culture is key to gender equality in the workplace – study

What would be the penalties? An employer caught violating the Labor Code’s provisions on discrimination against women could be fined from P50,000 up to P200,000. 

A violator may also face imprisonment for 3 months up to 3 years. 

Any employee or person who would wilfully aid in the discrimination of women in the workplace would face the same penalties.

Why do lawmakers want to pass this bill? HB 6769 was primarily authored by former DIWA representative-turned-justice undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay Villar and Cavite 2nd District Representative Strike Revilla.  

Cagayan 3rd District Representative Randolph Ting, chairperson of the labor and employment committee, sponsored the bill on second reading. 

He said gender discrimination in the workplace persists today, thus the need to amend the Labor Code. (READ: Are working women really empowered?)

“[Gender discrimination] takes many forms, but it is perhaps the most debilitating in the workplace where rigid company hierarchies and lack of transparency ensure that abuses persist unchecked,” said Ting 

“The role of legislation in this case is to rip away the protective veil of sexual discrimination by making its violations visible and by making the text of the law explicit with regards which action constitute discrimination as well as making sure that the gravity of the punishment suits the gravity of the offense,” he added. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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