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What To Do When You're Being Bullied At Work: Steps For Employees
Viewed by 1,769 Smart Towkays
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.
In Singapore, causing physical harm and using criminal force in an assault can result in charges and penalties: 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,000 for voluntarily causing hurt, and up to 3 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,500 for using criminal force.
In a shocking turn of events, the court brought charges against entertainment lawyer in 2019 for his atrocious physical abuse of not one, but two of his own employees.
From forceful finger pokes to aggressive hits, he left his team with tender bruises on their arms and thighs. But justice was served when he finally pleaded guilty to using criminal force and causing voluntary harm. Let this be a lesson to all bosses: keep your hands to yourself!
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:
Build positive relationships:
After You've Been Affected by Bullying
Seek medical attention:
Take time off:
Consider 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:
Develop and Implement Clear Policies: It is important for companies to have a clear company policy that defines what constitutes harassment, how to report it, and how it will be investigated. Check if the bullying policy should be easily accessible to all employees, and should be regularly reviewed and updated.
Provide Training: All employees should be trained on the company's harassment policies and how to identify and report harassment. This training should be provided on a regular basis, and should be mandatory for all employees.
Encourage Reporting: Employers should create an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting harassment. This can be achieved by ensuring that employees know how to report harassment, and that they will be protected from retaliation.
Investigate Complaints Promptly: All harassment complaints should be taken seriously and investigated promptly. Employers should ensure that the investigation is impartial and that the complainant is protected from retaliation.
Take Appropriate Action: If harassment is found to have occurred, employers should take appropriate action to address it. This could include disciplinary action, training, or even termination of the offender's employment.
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.
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