HR should not be afraid to defend workers

Human resources departments should be more proactive in defending workers who are sexually harassed at the workplace (Sexual harassment cases leave HR in a quandary; Dec 14).

Having helmed HR departments in a few organisations, I have had to deal with harassment cases for which appropriate action was taken against the perpetrators, most of whom were supervisors or executives.

I cannot understand why HR officers should be fearful of their career prospects if they investigate an alleged harassment case against a top executive, especially when it is their duty to ensure the well-being of the workers.

The question of a conflict of interest need not arise at all.

In our local context, workers will turn to their unions to seek redress if their complaints of harassment are poorly handled or ignored by the HR department.

It is important for the HR department to function as it should, without fear or favour when dealing with sexual harassment cases in the workplace.

Some will even resort to reporting to the police.

Human capital is of paramount importance, and we must utilise this precious resource properly and to the fullest, so that we can remain viable in the increasingly competitive business environment.

To this end, it is important for the HR department to function as it should, without fear or favour when dealing with sexual harassment cases in the workplace.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2017, with the headline 'HR should not be afraid to defend workers'. Print Edition | Subscribe