More help, resources to tackle workplace harassment

Employees facing workplace harassment can call the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices hotline, or go to its office, where they can seek advice and support from a team experienced in handling such complaints.
Employees facing workplace harassment can call the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices hotline, or go to its office, where they can seek advice and support from a team experienced in handling such complaints.PHOTO: ST FILE

A new help and resource centre for workplace harassment has been set up to provide support for both employers and workers.

It will be at the office of the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep), in the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability, in Jurong.

Employees facing workplace harassment can call Tafep on 6838-0969, or go to its office where they can seek advice and support from an experienced team managing workplace harassment complaints. Employers can go to Tafep's online site for more resources to deal with such harassment.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower Low Yen Ling, in announcing the centre yesterday in Parliament, said: "A safe workplace allows employees to work optimally. For that to take place, both employers and employees must have an interest and responsibility in preventing and managing workplace harassment."

She also said her ministry encouraged companies to take steps to address and prevent workplace harassment. These include being explicit about what is considered unacceptable behaviour at the workplace, making clear the disciplinary actions that would be taken against perpetrators and having safe avenues for affected employees.

Ms Low said: "Tafep is also working with relevant government agencies and partners, including the police, the courts and Aware (Association of Women for Action and Research), to set up a referral process so that Tafep can have sight of all workplace harassment cases.

"We will take a whole-of-government approach to support affected employees."

 
 
 

She was responding to Mr Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC) and Mr Desmond Choo (Tampines GRC), both of whom said workplace harassment deserved more attention.

Now, such victims can make a police report or go to court if the harassment comes under the Penal Code or the Protection from Harassment Act.

But when the cases do not meet the legal threshold, Tafep aims to help organisations build robust processes to tackle such cases and prevent them from happening again.

Among Tafep's resources is the Template Workplace Harassment Prevention Policy developed by the labour movement with contributions from the tripartite partners.

There is also a Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling to guide employers, as well as an introductory video explaining workplace harassment and what employers should do to address it.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2019, with the headline 'More help, resources to tackle workplace harassment'. Print Edition | Subscribe