What you need to know about the new Workplace Harassment Advisory

Portrait of businesswoman getting intimidation by someone in the office

Have you been bullied?

Are you being bullied?

What do you do when you think you’re being bullied?

Do you know what constitutes bullying at your workplace?

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The Ministry of Manpower, Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) released a Tripartite Advisory on Managing Workplace Harassment today (23 December 2015)

Here are 6 things you need to know about the new advisory, and how you can protect yourself against haressment:

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What action is considered a form of workplace harassment?

Any threatening, abusive, or insulting language; cyber bullying, sexual harassment and stalking is considered a form workplace harassment.

Who can the workplace harassment be carried out by and/or directed at?

These forms of harassment can be carried out and/or directed at Co-workers, Managers and workers, as well as other people at the workplace including customers, contractors, interns and volunteers.

Can employers intervene when employees are harassed?

Harassment may directly or indirectly cause anxiety to employees at the workplace which affects their morale or productivity of the organisation. Employers should therefore have an interest to create a positive and safe culture where employees can perform at their best.

What should employers do?

Employers should proactively identify, evaluate and control the risk of harassment at the workplace to ensure a safe, healthy and harmonious workplace.

They should consider the following good practices to prevent and respond to harassment at the workplace:

  • Develop a harassment prevention policy
  • Provide information and training on workplace harassment
  • Implement reporting and response procedures

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What should I do if I think I’m harassed?

There are different ways to deal with harassment.

When dealing with the harassment yourself, some suggested measure include:

  • Adopting effective body language (e.g. standing firm on the ground), staying alert and looking for escape routes.
  • Telling the harasser assertively to stop his/her unreasonable behaviour.
  • Warning the harasser that stern action will be taken if his/her action persists.
  • Documenting and keeping a record of evidence.

The affected person can also:

  • Approach the harasser with a trusted person if he/she is uncomfortable to confront the harasser personally.
  • Seek guidance from someone who is trained or knowledgeable in defusing difficult situations.

When organisational intervention is required, the affected person is advised to report the harassment encounter to his/her supervisor, manager, HR or delegated neutral party.

If external parties are preferred, the affected person can also approach associations, unions, or professional organisations for advice on dealing with harassment.

Which parties participated in the development of the triaprtite advisory?

Apart from the MOM, SNEF and NTUC, views were sought from the government, unions, employers, HR professionals and subject matter experts to develop the Advisory.

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Whenever employees are harassed at the workplace, employers should make the effort to review existing policies and procedures so that employees can seek help. Employees too should cooperate with their employers to ensure a positive, conducive and productive work environment.

 

Image Credits: Wise Workplace, Straits Times, Asiaone, Human Resources Online, Bloomberg.com.

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Arthur Lee

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