Office bullies fester on poor legal framework

February 4, 2015 0 By WFTV
The fact of the matter is, HRs are not trained to handle the psychological violence that manifests as workplace bullying.
So it is back to where it all started from. There is no recourse even in the face of evidence. Jaya Prakash

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 9.26.32 AM

A new book on office harassment will be launched in Singapore after the Chinese New Year. It is about office bullies, sexual harassment and what should the victims do to protect themselves.
Singapore born author and journalist Jaya Prakash hopes to take the book to Malaysia, where apparently such bullies are numerous in offices and where the law does not offer sufficient protection to the victims. Entitled “
Inciting Injury- An Expose of Workplace Bullying in Singapore.”, the book is available at Market Asia, a publisher in Singapore. See below for contacts.  <<!–more–>>

Worldfuturetv.com: Are there enough avenues for workers to stake their claim of harassment at work? Here we are talking about type of head of departments who are power-drunk jerks, and they’re brutal to work for. They callously push their people, take credit when things go right, point fingers when they don’t?
Jaya Prakash: There is none at the moment. Though the Singapore Armed Forces had something like a hotline to report harassment and harsh working conditions, some 30 years ago, there is no civilian equivalent.
Workplace harassment in Singapore, and I suspect in Malaysia, is largely the result of a grave mismatch in office power dynamics. The wider it is, the less protection victims get.
What needs to be done is an entire mindset change to how an office has to be ruled. Harassment and uncivil behaviour such as the voicing of unsubstantiated grievances, the widespread practice of favouritism (outlawed in Europe), untrained HR practitioners, yelling at subordinates (a form of psychological violence) allowing bullies a free rein, form the sum total of the total harassment climate in Singapore.
Worldfuturetv.com: What should a worker, being bullied and victim of the mischief of such heads of departments, has to do to prove such actions by these people? Does it involve evidence gathering? How does it work?
Jaya Prakash: Evidence gathering will surely help, but then there are no institutionalised review committees or tribunals to help alleviate the situation.
The Ministry of Manpower in Singapore; the body entrusted to uphold labour relations, does not have within its remit, the powers and enforcement rights to penalise offenders. Often than not, the advice given is hopelessly unhelpful, such as speak to your HR or head of department about the matter and have it resolved at that level.
But the fact of the matter is, HRs are not trained to handle the psychological violence that manifests as workplace bullying.
So it is back to where it all started from. There is no recourse even in the face of evidence.
HRs, the very people victims look up to for assistance, can do practically nothing.
Worldfuturetv.com: What about legal protection for people who are in this position? Any idea how they can use the law to protect themselves?
Jaya Prakash: In Singapore there is no legislation to guard against workplace bullies. There are no laws and thus no protection for victims.
Add that is because it is a pro-business government and as such there is no institutionalised whistle-blowing. Perhaps the Singapore Armed Forces have it, I would think. But not for its civilian counterparts.
Though legislation will help, there appears none at the moment, alas.
So in the meantime, we need to put up with workplace character assassinations, ostracism, suicides and violence.
Contact Market Asia: cyaw@marketasia.com.sg