Singapore is home to about 5 million people. Most of the people are very skilled and highly literate. The employment act of Singapore provides for fair treatment of existing and potential employees. The act prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, marital status, color, sexual orientation, political affiliation etc.1
Discrimination is any form of unfair treatment of the employee. Discrimination can occur during recruitment, promotion, pay rise or training. Discrimination is a bad practice because it makes the employee feel stressed or intimidated. Many prospective employees commonly fail to clinch job opportunities because of discrimination.
Actions Alex can take against the consultant
Following the events in this case, it is quite obvious that Alex has been discriminated against on the basis of age. This is in contravention to Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The ADEA of 1967 protects current and prospective employees aged over 40 years from discrimination on the basis of age2. Because he has been discriminated against on the basis of age, there are a number of actions available to Alex3.
First, Alex can contact any manager in the consultancy firm to formally or informally inform them. It is integral that this manager be of a higher rank that the consultant who handled the recruitment.
Secondly, Alex can make an official complaint to the prospective employer through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Alternatively, Alex can approach any Labour Relations body. The body can find the prospective employer and formally assist Alex place the grievance4.
Under the Employment Act of Singapore, Alex can use the Employment Standards Online (ESOL). This option will allow Alex to submit his complaints against the prospective employer or at least discuss this apparent discrimination with a labour relations official. This notification has to be done within 30 days from the time the alleged discriminatory act occurred5. Previously, such complaints could still be accepted within a period of one year.
In filling the age discrimination law case, Alex can adopt two approaches. First, Alex can file the case under disparate treatment. In this option, Alex would have to prove that the consultants had a specific intention to discriminate against him on the basis of age6.
This is usually common in cases where the supervisor behaves in a manner out rightly suggesting that the employee is old and no longer able to accomplish the task. Alternatively, Alex can file the case under disparate impact option7. Here, Alex would have to show cause that the prospective employer’s actions disproportionately affected him as an old aged employee – given his age of 56 years.
Local or international acts, conventions or regulations implicated in Alex’s case
Unlawful discrimination occurs in several ways. Any occurrence of discrimination contravenes a certain act of the law; be it local or international law. In Singapore, the Employments Act prohibits age based discrimination. Locally, the Employment Act of Singapore provides against any form of discrimination on any employee irrespective of whether they are nationals or not.
The Employment Act protects the managerial staff, seamen, domestic workers and any employee of the government8. Any such contravention is regarded as an adverse action according to the provisions of the Fair Workforce Act 2009
Internationally, age based dissemination is against the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Established in 1967, ADEA provides that both the existing employees and the prospective ones be protected against age based discrimination.
It further provides that no employer shall discriminate against any employee on the basis of their age when staffing, promoting, compensating or training employees. Under the provisions of ADEA, employers have express rights to favour older employees even when this action will not auger well with the younger employees
Discrimination is common in modern day business practice. The law prohibits any form of discrimination whether it gender based, racial, age or any other form. In Singapore, the employment act allows employees to sue for any acts of discrimination.
In this case study, Alex has been discriminated against based on his age despite his qualification and requisite experience. The Employment Standards Online (ESOL) allows Alex to sue the prospective employer. This discrimination on the basis of age is also in contravention with other legislation such as the Fair Workforce Act 20099 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
Beyer, James R. “Biggins Leaves ADEA Issues Unresolved”. National Law Journal, July 19, 1993.
Fick, Barbara. American Bar Association Guide to Workplace Law. New York: Times Books, 1997.
Gregory, Raymond F. Age Discrimination in the American Workplace: Old at a Young Age. Piscataway, N.J.: Rutgers Univ. Press, 2001.
Johns, Roger J., Jr. “Proving Pretext and Willfulness in Age Discrimination Cases after Hazen Paper Company v. Biggins.” Labor Law Journal 45, April 1994.
Kulatz, Karen. “Trading Substantive Values for Procedural Values: Compulsory Arbitration and the ADEA”. University of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy 5, Spring 1993.
Lawrence, Emily J. “Clarifying the Timing Requirements for Federal Employees’ Age Discrimination Claims.” Boston College Law Review 33, March 1992.
Lynda, C. Watts. Age Discrimination: Can you prove It? 2010.
Ministry of Manpower. The Employment Act. Government of Singapore, 2013.
Payton, Janet G. “Age Discrimination Checklist”. Corporate Counsel’s Quarterly 19, January 2003.
1. Ministry of Manpower. The Employment Act. Government of Singapore, (2013).
2. Lynda, C. Watts. Age Discrimination: Can you prove It? (2010)
3. Gregory, Raymond F. Age Discrimination in the American Workplace: Old at a Young Age. Piscataway, (N.J.: Rutgers Univ. Press, 2001).
4. Roger Johns. “Proving Pretext and Willfulness in Age Discrimination Cases after Hazen Paper Company v. Biggins.” Labor Law Journal 45, April 1994.
5. Emily Lawrence, J. “Clarifying the Timing Requirements for Federal Employees’ Age Discrimination Claims.” Boston College Law Review 33, March 1992.
6. Janet G Payton. “Age Discrimination Checklist”. Corporate Counsel’s Quarterly, 19, January 2003.
8. (Ibid, 1)
9. (Ibid, 9)