Press Statement from "Article 12 Non-discrimination @ Workplace Committee"
Courts Asked To Declare On Employment Equality
Singapore, 4 October 2013 – As equality laws are being revised worldwide, the Singapore courts have been petitioned to declare that Constitutional equality should apply in the workplace.
Lawrence Wee Kim San was recently dismissed by Robinsons, the iconic department store, on the grounds of sexual orientation.
In a historic application, Wee, a former senior management executive, is applying to the High Court here to declare that Article 12 should apply to all forms of discrimination at work.
The city state, heavily dependent on high-skilled labour, has sought to make Singapore attractive to professionals. In recent years, the economy has stepped up efforts to stem the outflow of Singaporean and foreign professionals, attracted by rapid development in neighbouring countries.
In May 2011, at the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Review, the Singapore government declared, “The principle of equality of all persons before the law is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, regardless of gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Wee’s application, widely regarded as a test case, is expected to declare the law in respect of workplace discrimination. Having significant implications for labour relations, it will be watched closely when it is heard in November.
A group of concerned citizens, calling themselves Article 12 Non-discrimination @ Workplace Committee, have come together to support the application. Dr Roy Tan, a spokesperson for the committee said, “Our name makes reference to the Constitutional provision that entitles everybody to equal protection of the law.”
Wee’s lawyers noted, “With the challenge before the Court, Mr Wee, on behalf of all Singaporeans, is seeking a declaration that Article 12 should be interpreted to confirm the government’s position that all persons, regardless of gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, are indeed and in fact protected by Singapore’s employment laws.”
Dr Tan added, “In the coming days, the Article 12 Non-discrimination @ Workplace Committee will release further information on the campaign and opportunities for like-minded individuals to show their support.”
For further information, please contact Article 12 Non-discrimination @ Workplace Committee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.