What To Do When You're Being Bullied At Work: Steps For Employees

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What To Do When You're Being Bullied At Work: Steps For Employees

Introduction: Understanding Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment is an issue that affects many employees across various industries. It can take many forms, including bullying, discrimination, and sexual harassment. In Singapore, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) has developed guidelines to help companies prevent and manage workplace harassment.

Common Myths About Workplace Harassment

There are many misconceptions about workplace harassment that need to be addressed. Some people believe that it only happens to certain types of employees, or that it is just harmless teasing. However, workplace harassment can happen to anyone, and it can have serious consequences for the victim's mental and physical health.

Typical underlying situations beyond the common myths are happening almost everywhere no matter where we work, such as:

  • Verbal abuse, such as yelling, name-calling, and abusive comments
  • Physical violence, such as hitting, pushing, or throwing objects
  • Intimidation, such as making threats, spreading rumors, or using body language to intimidate
  • Exclusion, such as being left out of meetings or social events or having your contributions ignored
  • Micro-management, such as being excessively monitored, criticized or scrutinized

If you're experiencing any of these behaviors or something that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, you may be a victim of workplace bullying.

Why Any Types Of Harassment Should Be Addressed

Workplace harassment can have serious consequences for both employees and employers. For employees, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also affect their job performance and career prospects. For employers, it can lead to decreased productivity, high turnover rates, and even legal action.

Basic Core Values Every Company Must Adopt

To prevent and manage workplace harassment, companies must adopt basic core values that promote a positive work environment. These include respect, dignity, and fairness. Employees should feel valued and appreciated, and they should be treated with respect and fairness.

  • Respect: All employees should be treated with respect, regardless of their position or background. This means that no one should be subjected to derogatory comments, belittling behavior, or other forms of disrespect.

Imagine a female employee who is constantly subjected to sexist jokes and comments by her male colleagues. This behavior is disrespectful and can create a hostile work environment for the employee.

  • Dignity: Employees should be able to maintain their dignity and self-respect while at work. This means that they should not be subjected to behavior that undermines their self-worth or makes them feel ashamed.

If an employee who is constantly being berated and yelled at by their supervisor in front of their colleagues, what steps can you take to address the bullying issue? This behavior is undignified and can create a toxic work environment for the employee. Read on... we have covered how to handle these bullying situations in details later in the article.

  • Fairness: All employees should be treated fairly and equally. This means that there should be no favoritism or discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

For example, when an employee who is constantly being passed over for promotions or given menial tasks because of their ethnicity, this behavior is seen as unfair and it is true that such condition can create a culture of discrimination in the workplace.

By adopting these core values, companies can create a positive work environment that is free from harassment and discrimination. However, it is important to remember that simply having these values is not enough - they must be actively enforced and promoted by management.

Employee Guide To Managing Bullying aka Workplace Harassment

If you are being bullied at work, it is important to take action to protect yourself. Here are some steps you can take:

Step 1: Speak Up

If you feel comfortable and a safe environment is present, talk to the person who is bullying you to let them know of their unacceptable behaviour. Why? Because sometimes, people may not realize that their behavior is causing harm. By speaking up, you can make them aware of the situation and give them the opportunity to change their behavior.

Step 2: Document Everything

Keep a record of any incidents of workplace bully, including the date, time, and details of what happened. This can help you if you need to report the bullying to your employer or to a higher authority.

Step 3: Report The Incident

If the bullying continues, report it to your employer or HR representative. They have a responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe and free from harassment. You may also want to consider reporting the bullying to the Ministry of Manpower or to TAFEP.

Step 4: Seek Support

Often dealing with workplace bullying can be difficult, so it is important to seek support from friends, family, or a professional counselor. They can offer you emotional support and advice on workplace bullying and how to cope with the situation.

For All Victims Of Bullying: How To Protect Yourself Before And After Affected

Before You're Affected by Bullying

Know your rights:
Familiarize yourself with your company's policies on workplace harassment and your rights as an employee. Knowing your rights can help you recognize when you are being treated unfairly or when your employer is not meeting their obligations.

Build positive relationships:
Build positive relationships with your colleagues and managers. This can help to create a positive work environment and reduce the likelihood of bullying. It's easier to avoid bullying when you work with people who respect and value you.

Be assertive:
Be assertive in your interactions with others. This can help to prevent others from taking advantage of you or treating you unfairly. When you are assertive, you set boundaries and make it clear that you will not tolerate mistreatment.

After You've Been Affected by Bullying

Seek medical attention:
If the bullying has affected your mental or physical health, seek medical attention from health professional. Bullying can cause a range of health problems, including anxiety, depression, and even physical injuries. If you are experiencing symptoms, don't hesitate to seek help.

Take time off:
If necessary, take time off work to recover from the effects of the bullying. It's important to prioritize your health and wellbeing, and taking time off can give you the space you need to heal. Talk to your employer or human resources representative about your options for time off.

Consider legal action:
If the bullying has resulted in serious harm, you may want to consider legal action. This can include filing a complaint with the Ministry of Manpower, seeking compensation for damages, or pursuing a civil lawsuit. It's important to speak with a lawyer for legal advice before taking any legal action.

Remember, workplace bullying is not your fault, and you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. By taking steps to protect yourself and seeking help when needed, you can overcome the effects of bullying and create a safe work environment for yourself and others.

Active Steps That Employers Can Do When Being Addressed

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe and free from harassment. It is their duty to create a company culture where everyone feels comfortable and respected. Here are some steps employers can take to address workplace harassment:

It is important for employers to take these steps seriously, as failing to do so can have serious consequences. In addition to legal and financial penalties, harassment can damage a company's reputation and lead to high employee turnover.


Workplace harassment is a serious issue that affects many employees. It is important for both employees and employers to understand what constitutes harassment, and to take steps to prevent it. Employees should feel empowered to speak out if they experience harassment, and employers should create a workplace culture that values respect, open communication, and collaboration.

By following the steps outlined in this article, employers can create a workplace that is safe and free from harassment. This will not only benefit employees, but will also lead to a more productive and positive work environment. Remember, everyone has a role to play in preventing workplace harassment, and together we can create a safer and more respectful workplace for all.

Read also: Is Firing Employees With No Cause In Singapore Business Ethical?

Read also: Love in the Singapore Workplace: A Detailed HR And Legal Insight [Singapore Edition]

Read also: The Ultimate Guide To Interning In Singapore: How To Find The Best Internships, Get Fair Pay, And Maximize Your Learning Journey


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UPDATED AS OF 15 Jun 2024
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