Vietnam's lawmakers act to end gender, racial discrimination in workplace

By VnExpress   April 24, 2017 | 04:00 am PT
Employees living with HIV and disabilities will also be protected.

Vietnam is aiming to improve its workplace environment with amendments to the law that will for the first time ban sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

Draft amendments to the Labor Law, which are now open for public discussion, ban abuse and sexual harassment at work, as well as the exploitation of workers on internships and vocational training courses, said Tieng Chuong, the news site run by the National Committee for AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Prevention and Control.

The revised law also bans discrimination based on gender and race; social, marital and religious status, and against pregnant workers and those living with HIV or disabilities, it said.

It is not clear when the amendments will be submitted to the National Assembly, the country's legislative body, for approval.

Vietnam currently has no laws in place to protect workers, particularly women, from sexual harassment. In many places the crime continues to be treated simply as an ethical violation. Around 1,000 sexual assaults are reported each year in Vietnam, and surveys have found girls and women are regularly victims of sexual harassment in public places and the workplace.

The country developed its first ever code of conduct on workplace sexual harassment in 2015 with support from the International Labor Organization (ILO).

A 2015 study by the ILO and recruitment firm Navigos Search also found that many job ads in Vietnam contain gender bias. The study found 20 percent of 12,300 job postings on Vietnam’s four largest job portals included gender requirements that favored male applicants, shutting women out of highly-skilled and better-paid jobs.

Men were often targeted for highly-skilled jobs or jobs that required more outdoor work, such as architects, drivers, engineers and IT professionals, the study said.

Women were preferred for office and support occupations, such as receptionists, assistants, accountants, human resources and general affairs.

Up to 83 percent of management job postings with gender preferences required male applicants. 

It’s not easy for people with living HIV or disabilities to find a job in Vietnam, so the government has issued a policy providing tax incentives to any businesses that hire them.

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