Companies urged to embrace equality and diversity
MANILA and Mindanao-based businesses and business associations were urged to promote inclusivity in their companies on Tuesday to boost performance and help build sustainable peace.
International Alert, a peacebuilding non-governmental organization, the Mindanao Business Council (MinBC), and Team Energy Foundation, Inc. jointly launched the Red Flags on Equality and Diversity in the Workplace, which are a set of practical guidelines to help companies ensure equal access to employment opportunities, safe spaces, and sustainable careers for Muslims and indigenous peoples.
“Promoting inclusivity enables companies to improve labor relations, foster motivation and creativity among workers, improve their reputation, and ultimately boost their social and financial stability. Doing so would also address factors that contribute to the exacerbation of conflict leading to violent extremism,” said Francisco Lara, Jr., Country Manager of International Alert Philippines.
The Red Flags list warnings or red flags to companies on discrimination against applicants or employees of certain ethnic or religious backgrounds and provide ways to address this discrimination. Red flags include limiting access to employment due to ethnic or religious identities, imposing job requirements that are hostile to cultural or religious minorities such as the banning of hijabs, tolerating an exclusionary workplace environment that feature ethnic slurs and jokes, and termination of employees due to their distinct cultural norms and religious beliefs, among others.
“The Philippine labor force is highly diverse, composed mostly of young people from different cultural and religious backgrounds and gender identities. They present a rich resource that companies seeking to dominate their sectors now and in the future can tap,” said Rolando Torres, Executive Director of MinBC.
He added, “For them to thrive, places of employment must be inclusive and discriminationfree.”
Undersecretary Domingo Say of the Department of Labor and Employment, in a message, said, “Identity should not be an obstacle in getting a job. The private sector has a responsibility in ensuring inclusivity by providing and sustaining economic opportunities for all, whatever the ethnic background, religion or gender.”
Some forty representatives from various businesses in the banking, finance, and service sectors, as well as from extractive industries, joined the Red Flags launch which was held at the Shang-ri La Hotel in Makati City. Representatives from the American, British, European, and Indian Chambers of Commerce also witnessed the event.