Vital to define harassment clearly

Vital to define harassment clearly

The effort of the tripartite partners - the Manpower Ministry, National Trades Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation - to prevent and manage workplace harassment is laudable ("'Onus on employers' to fight harassment"; last Thursday).

Bosses are responsible for ensuring that their workplace is free from any form of harassment, which, if left unchecked, may have a negative impact on staff and the company.

With anti-harassment guidelines in place and various avenues open for the aggrieved to seek redress, the incidence of workplace harassment will be greatly reduced.

However, we should precisely define what we mean by "harassment", because a person's behaviour that is deemed acceptable to one may appear distasteful to another.

We must be more circumspect when dealing with cases that lie within grey areas.

It can be traumatising for someone to be wrongly accused of inappropriate behaviour.

Hence, it is vital for human resource departments and advocacy groups to have people equipped with the adequate knowledge, experience and tact to handle such cases.

It is also imperative that HR departments conduct employee surveys to learn how bullying, sexual harassment and stalking can manifest at the workplace, so that awareness can be raised and preventive measures taken.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

This article was first published on December 29, 2015.
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