Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – Part Two

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – Part One 1

In order to curb sexual harassment in the workplace, employers too have to play a role.  The establishment of law is provided and acts as a guideline, but the application depends on the parties involved especially the employers. The employers must be quick on their feet when they receive a sexual harassment complaint. The HR department also needs to proceed with preliminary investigation within 30 days from the date the complaint is made. It’s very important for the employers to do this because if the HR finds there is a case of sexual harassment, then the employers should take the required disciplinary action. However, if there is no evidence adduced by the complainant, then the HR has to inform the complainant by way of writing and recording it. One thing to remember is that employers must not be myopic when they receive a sexual harassment complaint by any party by jumping into conclusions, especially without conducting investigation since natural justice will prevail.

Employers must advocate on the significance of managing and handling sexual harassment at the workplace and educate the staff with the information on this issue. This clearly can be done through an awareness campaign where it has to include having talks on sexual harassment and even put up posters and brochures around the workplace to ensure that the staffs are well exposed to such issues.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – Part Two
By Ashikin Abd Rahim
Legal Adviser
MECA Employers Consulting Agency Sdn Bhd

Since providing a workplace that is safe and secure for the staff to carry out their duties is vital, employers must handle the issue of sexual harassment without batting an eye, and act reasonably and cautiously. They have to ensure that the policy relating to sexual harassment is of the knowledge of the staff. Employers also have to provide more options that are easier and convenient for the victims to make complaints. To illustrate, victims can make complaints through WhatsApp, letters or even email, not limiting this to their direct supervisors or managers, but also to counselors provided by the company. This would enable the victim to make a complaint easily and comfortably since there are many other options available to him/her to do so instead of just having one specific method.

In summation, consistent and efficient solutions by the government as well as the employers are needed as the existing efforts are porous since the statistics produced by the Labour Department between 1999 and 2010 showed that there were 297 cases of sexual harassment reported and solved. It is said that these cases are the tip of the iceberg, since not many of the employers and employees are aware of the drawbacks of this issue and tend to hide it under the blanket. The implications of not handling this issue properly are tremendous. Not only will it tarnish the good image of Malaysia, but the company too will lose the trust and confidence of other employees. Meanwhile, the complainant will tend to become remorse, mopey and bleak about life.

In order for the issue of sexual harassment to be solved, it needs numerous efforts from more than just one party since it gives a subtle impact to the parties involved.

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