Bill protects women from workplace discrimination in the Philippines

The House of Representatives has passed a legislation that gives women more protection against discrimination in the workplace.

House Bill 4375 seeks to expand the list of prohibited acts of discrimination against women on account of their gender in relation to the terms and conditions of their employment.

Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara of Aurora said that under the bill, which he authored, it will be unlawful for any employer to favor a male employee over a female employee with respect to assignments, and dismissal or retrenchment of personnel.

Also, it will be considered an act of discrimination to deny any woman the benefits of employment or other statutory benefits under the country’s laws by reason of her gender.

Under the bill, any employer found guilty of committing or attempting to commit any of the enumerated prohibited acts will be asked to pay a fine of no less than P50,000 but not more than P200,000 and suffer imprisonment of no less than two years but not more than four years.

The measure provides that the conviction or acquittal obtained by the employer, however, will not be a bar to the filing by the female employee of a civil suit for the payment of salaries or benefits due her.

Any employee or person who wilfully aids in or abets the acts declared prohibited or who causes the commission of any such acts by another will be liable in the same manner as the employer.

The bill proposes the immediate deportation of a non-Filipino offender after he has served the penalties.

According to Angara, existing laws, specifically Articles 135 of Presidential Decree 442, or the Labor Code as amended by Republic Act 6725, considered as an act of discrimination against women in the workplace is the payment of a lesser compensation than a male for work of equal value. This includes wages, salaries or other forms of remuneration and fringe benefits.

The laws further state that favoring a male employee over a female employee with respect to promotion, training opportunities, study and scholarship grants solely on account of their gender constitutes an act of discrimination against women.


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