Of teeth and employment

Who says employment is equal?

Sharing my personal experience of applying for, working and being employed in privately owned companies–employment wasn’t equal, at least for me. I was denied employment opportunity for simple reason that my teeth are incomplete. Perhaps, Jollibee’s hiring officers in Bolton branch, Davao City back in 1998s could explain this further.

After completing an interview with them, for a student like me desperate to support my college studies, excitement was there to read posted names of those newly hired as part-time service crews. My name wasn’t on the list, but the small note below the posts explains it all: “applicants are preferably with good teeth”.

Later I found myself working for an underpaid retail store. Working for P5 an hour is obviously exploitative, but I had to–for my studies.

When I was young, I suffered lack of calcium and my gum swells often. I even woke up in the morning in my younger years bloodstains on pillow as my gum bled when i was in deep sleep. I was then clueless that my obsession (at least in my college days) to work for Jollibee and other food chains wouldn’t be possible simply for loosing one frontal tooth.

Since my Jollibee experience happened, I lost hope of having opportunity to work in food chains and other stores that may require “with pleasing personality” as part of condition for hiring service crews. My younger sister, Ann, was even lucky enough than me. She worked with Jollibee twice. For me, I believed I am not that ugly if face is the factor (I think).

Our labor code too spelled out that anybody must not be denied employment by way of discrimination. But this seemingly acceptable “requirement” for some sectarian private schools that you must me part of their religious denomination, with pleasing personality, amongst others as precondition for hiring, is a mockery of our labor laws.

Since then, I am not much worried for myself anymore, but for others may loss job opportunities for this (sic) reason. After all, the teeth thing, face factor and pleasing personality often don’t matter much. It’s what in your head that matters.

Now tell me, is employment opportunity equal in our country?


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