SINGAPORE - Physical abuse at the workplace is not common in Singapore.
But psychological or emotional abuse are, human resource consultants told The New Paper.
Mr Joshua Yim, chief executive of HR company Achieve Group, said he was shocked to hear of the incident.
He said: "Singapore is an advanced society and this is beyond my imagination. I find it to be a disgrace to our country."
Referring to the victim's non-retaliation and defenceless state, he added: "We're not sure what the reasons are or what the intent is, but it is not acceptable in any situation.
"Be it an emotional or a physical abuse, it is unacceptable in a professional context."
Mr Bruno Marchand, manager of the business support division at recruitment consultancy Robert Walters Singapore, agreed: "Employers are going too far when they do anything which is potentially degrading, embarrassing or humiliating to an employee."
Workplace abuse can be likened to bullying, said associate consultant Ian Poulier at The SEL Network, which provides counselling services.
"There is intimidation and fear, and a feeling of entrapment for the victim," he said.
"The perpetrator is usually superior or influential, and there's an abuse of power."
Mr Marchand said workplace abuse can and will generate more problems.
He said: "Employees can develop excessive anxiety, depression, withdrawal from social interaction and decreased morale."
Explaining the concept of learned helplessness, Mr Poulier said most victims learn to endure the abuse as they are dependent on the job.
He said: "As an intern, he is dependent on the supervisor's report for validation and a bad report would lower his job prospects."