Be clear on what constitutes workplace harassment

Be clear on what constitutes workplace harassment

Workers have every right to defend themselves against harassment from difficult customers ("43 firms stand up for workers' rights"; Thursday).

It is regrettable that there are still customers who maintain the archaic view that service staff should be servile and not be deserving of basic courtesies.

While it is timely and beneficial for firms to sign the pledge for harassment-free workplaces, we must first define what constitutes harassment, abuse or threat.

Customers come from all walks of life and are of different nationalities. Sometimes their behaviour may seem crude, or their words may be deemed "vulgar" by some, but this may not mean they are abusive or threatening.

More importantly, key managers must be well versed in the guidelines of the pledge, and they themselves should put more emphasis on civility when supervising their staff.

Workers can be more committed only if they are respected and have a right to dignity in their workplaces.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

This article was first published on Oct 11, 2014.
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