Anti-Age Discrimination

Online petition vs age discrimination at work snowballs

May 9, 2014

An online petition spearheaded by a non-government organization has garnered broad support across socio-economic groups – gaining a thousand signatures in less than 24 hours – as it called on Congress to pass a law prohibiting age discrimination in the workplace.

Spearheaded by the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute headed by former labor undersecretary Susan “Toots” Ople, the online petition against age discrimination in the workplaces garnered nearly 3,000 signatures since it was launched viawww.change.org last May 1.

“We are elated at the outpouring of public support to our call for Congress to end age discrimination in the workplace.  Let’s hope that our legislators will heed this clamor and set public hearings on pending bills on this issue,” Ople said.

“We are against all forms of discrimination in the workplace, most of which are already covered by existing laws. There is, however, not a single law prohibiting age discrimination in the workplace. This is why this practice of hiring applicants on the basis of age, not skills or competence, persists,” she added.

The online petition (http://www.change.org/ph/mga-petisyon/pass-a-law-to-ban-age-discrimination-in-the-workplace) was launched in the wake of reports reaching the Ople Center that returning overseas Filipino workers who have spent most of their best years abroad are now finding it doubly difficult to find employment in the country because of their age.

Petitioners agreed that age discrimination has become a barrier to inclusive economic growth.

“The age should not be a hindrance for employers to hire someone who is competent, more experienced and has good moral standing.  In the Philippines, it seems it is not what you know but whom you know that matters,” wrote Monsi Serrano in his Facebook account.

Abilidad, hindi edad (skills, not age),” Vincent Aureus, one of the signatories to the online petition against age discrimination in the workplaces, said in the vernacular.

According to Ople, there are several anecdotal evidence proving that many applicants are being denied of employment not because they lack the personal merit or qualification but because of their age.

“If you look at some of the job notices, age has become a major determinant on who should apply even if the position can obviously be filled by people above thirty years old,” she pointed out.

Ople, the daughter of the late labor minister and senator Blas F. Ople, also cited data from the International Labor Organization that over thirty countries have policies and laws on age discrimination.

“That is why we are calling on Congress to pass a law that prohibits age discrimination in the workplace.  There are bills in both the Senate and House of Representatives that seek to address this kind of discrimination.  Unfortunately, these have been gathering dust in the legislative archives,” she added.

Ople also called on job applicants and workers who have experienced age discrimination to call up the Blas F. Ople Center at 833-5337 or to write to [email protected]. “We would like to document such cases in order to build a strong and undeniable case that age discrimination in the workplace does exist, and it has become a hindrance to inclusive growth that our country has been aspiring for.”

END