Written Answer to PQ on Cases of Workplace Sexual Harassment and Actions Taken
NOTICE PAPER NO. 894 OF 2021 FOR A SITTING ON OR AFTER 12 JANUARY 2022
QUESTION NO. 2375 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) how many cases of sexual harassment at workplaces have been reported in the past five years; and (b) what actions were taken in those cases.
1. Workplace sexual harassment cases are dealt with by the Police and the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).
2. Between January 2021 and September 2021, the Police handled 378 sexual harassment cases with a workplace nexus under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) and Penal Code. Police started to track such workplace harassment reports in 2021 to help MOM and TAFEP better understand the extent of this issue. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, Police may initiate investigations. Where investigations are not initiated, Police will advise the complainant to pursue civil remedies such as applying for a Protection Order. Of the 378 cases, Police investigated 305 of them. As at 3 January 2022, 151 cases were still undergoing investigation. Of the 154 completed cases, 70 resulted in warnings and 2 in convictions.
3. For cases that may not meet the legal threshold for criminal investigations or civil recourse under POHA, but nonetheless result in distresses at the workplace, TAFEP will require the employer to provide an investigation report of the workplace harassment complaint in accordance with the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Workplace Harassment and take clear steps to prevent and manage workplace harassment in future. TAFEP will also work with the affected individual and the employer to adjust work arrangements and provide closure where relevant. Since the establishment of TAFEP’s Workplace Harassment Resource and Recourse Centre in 2019, TAFEP has handled an average of 10 reports of workplace sexual harassment each year. Till date, all employers engaged by TAFEP to look into workplace harassment reports have been cooperative and have taken the necessary corrective measures in line with the Advisory.
4. The Government does not tolerate any form of workplace harassment including sexual harassment. We urge any employee who has encountered workplace harassment to approach TAFEP or the Police for advice and assistance.