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SMEs among 80 firms that have pledged to end workplace HIV discrimination

SINGAPORE — Eighty companies here have pledged to end workplace discrimination against individuals with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

SINGAPORE — Eighty companies here have pledged to end workplace discrimination against individuals with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Multinational firms that have signed the pledge include American software company Salesforce – which is the lead signatory – as well as Barclays and Google, but small and medium enterprises like Chope also feature in the mix.

The 80 companies include law firms, healthcare companies and food and beverage outlets.

Advocacy group Action for Aids (AFA) announced the launch of the Inclusive Employers Pledge on Tuesday (Apr 9) in partnership with Be Inclusive, a social enterprise that works with companies to implement inclusive business practices.

Companies that sign the pledge have to ensure that:

  1. A worker’s HIV status is not grounds for his or her dismissal from employment

  2. Support will be provided to any employee who suffers harassment or discrimination due to his or her HIV status

  3. Educational initiatives will be carried out to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination in Singapore. Companies can look to guidelines issued by the Singapore National Employers Federation on managing HIV and Aids (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) — the end stage of HIV infection — at the workplace.

AFA’s advocacy manager Avin Tan said that workplaces play a crucial role in ending discrimination against individuals with HIV.

“The challenge of being gainfully employed without the fear of being sacked because of one’s HIV infection must be addressed if we want to effectively control HIV in Singapore,” he said. “It is good public health practice to have someone whose HIV status is known and successfully treated, than someone who is undiagnosed, unaware, frightened and potentially infectious.”

Mr Laurindo Garcia, the founder of Be Inclusive, said that companies are increasingly being judged by how inclusive they are.

The pledge is a way to “send a meaningful and powerful signal to job seekers and customers”, he said. “Ultimately if the number of inclusive companies in Singapore grows, not only will be good for business, it will contribute to the eradication the social stigma and discrimination that many disadvantaged groups face.”

Companies can sign the Inclusive Employers Pledge at https://be-inclusive.com/employers-pledge-on-hiv.

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