Take workplace bullying, harassment, intimidation seriously

I am glad that a 17-page advisory has been drawn up to get employers to take a sterner position on harassment at the workplace ("'Onus on employers' to fight harassment"; Dec 24).

The report focused quite a bit on sexual harassment, but a lot more bullying takes place at work than most would care to admit.

It is usually mental and emotional in nature and can be perpetrated by co-workers and bosses alike. At times, the person doing the bullying does not even realise he is doing it.

Harassment or bullying is a matter of perception. While one worker may not be bothered by the action, another might.

The distinction here is not the act but how it is perceived by the person on the receiving end.

As long as someone feels like he is being harassed, intimidated or bullied into doing something he is uncomfortable with, then harassment, intimidation and bullying have taken place.

I have heard cases of employees who are so harassed at work that they are kept awake in the wee hours of the night and fret over getting up to go to work.

In extreme cases, they end up seeking professional help, all the while keeping it hushed up. However, this addresses only the symptom and not the root cause, which still goes on in the organisation.

The advisory is a good starting point and I hope employers embrace it wholeheartedly.

Bullying, harassment and intimidation at the workplace are real. They can affect not only individuals but also their spouse, children, siblings and even parents.

Let us not sweep the matter under the carpet but say "no" to harassment and workplace bullying.

Matthew Ong Koon Lock