Workplace Harassment: What Should Employers Do?

Employer Mar 12, 2021

Workplace's environment may sometimes becomes "unhealthy" when harassment occurs.

However, what can be considered as harassment in workplace?

In reality, the workplace harassment can be in forms of verbal, written or physical action conducted by either supervisor/higher-management or the employees.

The common workplace harassment are:

i. Racial harassment -  harassment by basis of the race.

ii. Abuse of authority - harassment by a person who uses his/her authority to interfere with an employee or the employee’s job.  

iii. Sexual harassment -  conducted  by basis of sexual nature, and includes such things as a request for sexual favors.

As guidelines, employers may takes these 2 action in managing workplace harassment.

Let's get to know both of the essential solutions for future unexpected matters.

Solutions 1: Making a Policy On Workplace Harassment

Policy 1

If your company does not have this policy yet, it is not too late to start it as internal action to create a workplace harassment-free environment in your company.

The HR Department with approval from higher management may create the policy with following contents:

i. Interpretation of harassment and the listing of harassment in workplace.

ii. The complaint procedure may include Investigation Process, False Accusation Notice or Disciplinary Measures.

iii. Roles and Responsibilities of both employers and employees.  

Solution 2: Following Guideline from Labour Office

For a note, Labour Office authority is limited in handling complainant cases of workplace harassment.

The authority is for Sexual Harassment  in accordance of  Employment Act 1955 (Part XVA, Section 81A-81G).

According to this section, sexual harassment is defined as "complaint of sexual harassment" means  any complaint relating to sexual harassment which are made by:

(i) An employee against another employee;

(ii) An employee against any employer; or

(iii) An employer against an employee.

Here are the examples:

Verbal Explicit Language via joke/conversation,catcall, or praising on sexual basis on clothing, body etc.
Visual An act of sending notes, letter, e-mail, sms, mss, picture, poster, object or sexual related content via any type of media, electronics/communications.
Signal Conducted via behaviour which gives impression on sexual basis such as staring seductively, stalking, licking lips or any other signal language.
Psychology An act of trying to get closer sexually, encourage, urge, threaten or persuade seductively as to satisfy the same sexual desire via mail, phone, email or any form of communication that cause emotional/mental stress.
Physical An act of approaching others at close up distance until the person feels less comfortable such as (holds, hugs, claps,rubbing, pinching, kissing or touching until the victim feels offended or insulted).

In addition, with reference of (Part XVA, Section 81C), employers are entitled to take a disciplinary actions if sexual harassment case is proven.

Sect XVA
Source: Employment Act 1955

Additional Essential Knowledge: Compliant Procedure via Labour Office

i. Filing a compliant via walk- in/letter/phone call to nearest Labour Office and gives out information on the name/address of the compliant, name/address of the harasser and the details of the issue.

ii. Interview with victim

iii. Investigation.

iv. Interview employer and ask the investigation to be done on company side.

v. Receiving investigation report from employers.

vi. Interview with the accused harasser

vii. Labour Officer prepares report and recommendations.

viii. Recommendations send to employers.

ix. Investigation reporting to victim. If the victim is not satisfied, the investigator will advised to further the case to police/other agency.

x. Compliant procedure closed.

Thus, we hope this article may helps your company in managing a workplace harassment.

Source: Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia(JTKSM), Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia.

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