May 23, 2024

Councilor Elaine Sembrano filed an ordinance prohibiting employment discrimination against former offenders or inmates who are residents of Baguio City.

Under the proposed ordinance, the following acts shall be prohibited: failing or refusing to hire or discharge any individual or discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privilege of employment because of their previous civil/criminal offense;

Limiting, segregating, or classifying an employee or applicant for employment in any way which could deprive or tend to deprive them of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect their status as an employee because of their previous civil/criminal offense;

Discriminating against individual on the grounds that they were charged, assisted or testified, or participated in any means in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing; and

Coercing, intimidating, threatening, or interfering with any individual in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted.

Once enacted, residents who were convicted of any criminal/civil offense but were discharged and are seeking employment should not be discriminated against, provided that a psychological test will be available to employers requesting assessment of potential employees to be administered by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) to ensure a safe and healthy employer-employee relationship. 

The CSWDO shall be tasked to administer programs aimed at dispelling discrimination against former inmates residing in the city and to ensure that they are given equal opportunities for skills training and employment. 

The city government shall also provide a social protection program for former inmates affected by and vulnerable to employment discrimination, provided that these are work-related discriminations.

Any employer found to have violated any provision of the ordinance shall be fined P2,500 or an imprisonment of one day to 30 days or both, at the discretion of the court for the first offense; P3,500 or an imprisonment of one day to 30 days or both, at the discretion of the court for the second offense; or P5,000 or an imprisonment of one day to 30 days or both, at the discretion of the court for the third and subsequent offenses. 

The ordinance has been approved on first reading and referred to the sanggunian’s committee on employment, livelihood and cooperatives, and persons with disability for review. – Jordan G. Habbiling