Apply standard that covers harassment at work to maids

A maid doing laundry at a home along Thomson Road on March 8, 2017.
A maid doing laundry at a home along Thomson Road on March 8, 2017. PHOTO: ST FILE

I applaud the Ministry of Manpower for instituting the Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling to address workplace unhappiness, including sexual harassment complaints (Over 960 firms adopt standard that covers harassment at work, May 9).

This standard should also be made applicable to foreign domestic workers, who may face sexual harassment in the homes they work in.

I recently found out about a case involving a maid who would have been sexually assaulted had she not got out of the situation.

When this incident was brought to the attention of the relevant authorities, the case was dismissed with the explanation that the maid was only verbally threatened with molestation and was not raped.

In cases like this, the maids are lodged in safe houses while they wait for their cases to be heard, after which they are sent home without compensation. Whereas the employers responsible for their predicament are allowed to apply for another maid. This seems unjust.

With the robust adoption and implementation of the harassment prevention policy, I hope a safe working environment for domestic workers can become a reality.

Padmini Kesavapany

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2019, with the headline 'Apply standard that covers harassment at work to maids'. Print Edition | Subscribe