A reader sent this rant from an online forum.
“I am a Pinoy.
I recently arrived in Singapore to claim my SPass. I was offered the job while I was still in the Philippines so I entered Singapore with an IPA in tow. All I needed was to clear the medical exam.
I was not worried much as they only asked to check for HIV and TB. When the doctor evaluated me, she asked if I had any history of lung, kidney, liver, or heart disease. I told her I have lupus but have been in remission for 2 years, and my last flare was quite minor. I was even working while still in flare. I take medication to stay in check but other than staying out of the sun, avoiding major sleep deprivation, and not forgetting my pills, I can function like any normal human being. In fact if I don’t tell people, we can go through our entire period of knowing each other without you knowing that I spent a lot of my teen years in the hospital.
Initially this checkup did not worry me since I don’t have any communicable diseases whatsoever, and I have past experience in this line of work (cook at a restaurant). All the doctor’s questions worried me about the results of this checkup so I asked her if this would be a problem with my employment status. She said she only reports her findings to the company and it is their full prerogative if they want to employ me or not. Note at this point I’ve already uprooted my life and signed a contract.
I read the contact fully and the only thing that they could get me on is that I ticked no on a questionnaire’s item that read along the lines of “has any medical condition that can interfere with one’s ability to work.” I ticked no because that is the truth. I am a perfectly functioning human being who is fully qualified for the job at hand and was denied employment on the basis of an insignificant medical condition. My chronic illness does not affect my work in any significant way. In fact I work very hard not to let anyone know of my condition and let my credentials speak for itself.
I found out via email that my SPass would be cancelled solely based on the fact that I have a chronic illness (that again, is very much in control, and that I know I could do the job because I have done it before with almost no repercussions — I say almost because like any person ever, I also get the flu or any run of the mill illness that forces me to go on short leave). From what he doctor told me, this was the company’s decision to terminate my employment. I will make an appeal to HR on Monday regarding this (their email gave me no alternate actions or any mention of any action moving forward). I did not plan on using company medical benefits to buy pills (Preexisting conditions immediately disqualify me right as I sign up and I have already arranged for family to deliver pills to me directly from the Philippines), or to take advantage of if I get severely ill (highly unlikely as I keep myself in check and talk to my doctor every few weeks. The last time I was severely ill and had to take major time off was 5 years ago). I can’t even register for disability because my symptoms are so mild that I don’t even qualify.
I’m just merely seeking advice for my situation. Possibly also ranting because this is very unfair.
I’ve looked up some things and they do breach MOM’s Fair Employment Practices and I could also report for unfair dismissal.
I was recommended for this job by a superior in a company I used to work for in the US, and I have already sought help from him, as well as the manager who interviewed me (though he does work for this company; I cannot say he will be on my side).
Is there anything else I can do before I start looking for another job? I’m already here with a rented apartment and everything so I will absolutely not go back to the Philippines.
Also, is this a, for the lack of a better word, thing here? That people with chronic illness can’t work at all and I was actually doomed from the start? Do my qualifications mean nothing here at all since I am chronically ill?
TL;DR I have a chronic illness that does not affect my work at all. Despite being fully qualified for the job, my employer decided not to hire me solely on the basis of my condition. Looking for advice on this as I have already uprooted my life and will do everything possible not to fly back to the Philippines (all while staying here legally of course. If time comes that my visitor status expires with no changes and only then will I fly back home).”