|December 23, 2008|
Previously published on November 28, 2008
The Promotion of Opportunity and Gender Equality Bill (the "Bill") is currently being considered by the Thai government. Once passed, it will have a significant impact on employment policies and recruitment procedures.
The Bill will give life to the provisions of the Thai Constitution on gender equality and female empowerment. It will establish a legal framework for the advancement of equal opportunities and the eradication of gender discrimination in both the public and private sector.
The Bill's five main objectives are to: prohibit sexual discrimination and give equal rights and privileges to both genders; establish a Committee to promote equality; establish an Office of Feminine and Family Affairs; investigate complaints of gender discrimination; and establish a fund to promote gender equality.
While prioritising female discrimination in the workplace, the Bill also addresses equality in educational institutions, training facilities and many other sectors.
The Gender Equality and Equal Opportunity Commission will be set up to propose, implement and monitor policies and measures to prevent discrimination and punish offenders. Victims of gender discrimination will be able to file complaints, either orally or in writing, to the Commission, which will then investigate and take appropriate action. Damages and other financial support may be awarded to victims provided an application is made within one year of the Commission’s ruling on the case.
A person charged with gender discrimination may be imprisoned for up to one year, fined up to THB 100,000, or both. If the offender is a juristic person, the fine will be five times the amount.
Offences under the Bill are compoundable and can be settled by payment of the fine. The case will be referred to the Criminal Court if the offender fails to pay within the given time.
The Bill is expected to take effect by next year. To comply with the provisions of this Bill, once it becomes law, employers and companies will need to carefully reassess their human resource policies and terms and conditions of employment.