Should harassment reports be made mandatory?

The Singapore government is discussing whether MOM should legislate the reporting of workplace harassment cases

Should harassment reports be made mandatory?

Should the reporting of workplace abuse and harassment be made mandatory in Singapore?

Several MPs offered suggestions in parliament on what more can be done about workplace harassment here.

AWARE’s Sexual Assault Care Centre saw 108 workplace-related harassment cases in 2017. The figure is an increase from the 91 cases reported to the centre in 2016.

“This suggests that workplace harassment is a common problem that employees are increasingly voicing out against,” said MP Louis Ng.

Ng suggested setting up and maintaining a public database for employers to voluntarily declare that they have formal written policies on managing workplace harassment.

Nominated MP K. Thanaletchimi urged MOM to make it mandatory for employers to report any incidents.

She added that more can be done to educate employees on how to respond to workplace harassment, which has become increasingly common here.

“An injury or harm as a result of workplace harassment must be treated with the same level of priority as an injury from a work-related accident,” she said. This is due to its possibly long-term effect on personal well-being.

Second minister for manpower Josephine Teo disagreed on the call for formal legislation, however.

Teo said that some employees preferred a private resolution and would rather report a case of harassment to their employers without involving the authorities.

“Legislating mandatory reporting by employers, as suggested by Thanaletchimi, will close off this avenue for such employees and discourage them from raising the matter with anyone. This is not helpful to them," Teo said.

Employees are given the choice to seek civil resolutions directly through the courts or report serious cases to the police. She also urged victims of harassment to report any incidents to MOM or TAFEP.

Between 2013 and 2017, about 20 police reports involving sexual harassment at the workplace were filed annually. All of which were thoroughly investigated and offenders taken to task, reported The Straits Times.

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