In the wake of 2 Straits Times' editors being disciplined over their relationship with an intern, SPH CEO LG (NS) Ng Yat Chung wrote an email informing SPH staff that relationship between a superior and subordinate must be disclosed.
Yesterday (11 Oct), LG Ng told staff that the incidents had raised concerns within the company and harmed SPH's reputation.
"We need to draw a line under these incidents by addressing questions about norms of acceptable behaviour on matters such as office romance, fraternization and sexual harassment," wrote Mr Ng.
"An undisclosed relationship between a superior and subordinate is not acceptable. When discovered and investigated, it will result in disciplinary action," he added.
Mr Ng also addressed the issue of sexual harassment, saying, "We will introduce appropriate training following feedback that some of our colleagues 'just don't get it' when it comes to what constitutes sexual harassment and inappropriate language."
In addition, a task force would be set up to ensure that policies on relations between superiors and subordinates are set out clearly, and that staff are aware of the code of conduct they are expected to abide by.
It will also look to add informal avenues for staff to seek advice and help if they encounter inappropriate behaviour.
LG Ng stressed that the company takes a serious view of any transgressions on fraternization, sexual harassment and other breaches of its code of conduct. "We will not hesitate to take firm action against anyone - and I mean, anyone, who has been found to have breached our code of conduct," he said.
Editors still retain their jobs after being involved with the same reporter
TOC first broke the news last week (3 Oct) that one of the ST editors, Marc Lim, allegedly had an affair with a junior staff.
"TOC understands that Mr Lim has been removed from editorial functions and will not have any more supervisory roles in his current capacity. He has also been demoted two levels as a result of the COI investigation," TOC reported.
TOC also reported that the affected staff "had purportedly to have attempted suicide after her boyfriend confronted her on the affair" and that it understands the police is looking into the matter.
After SPH broke the news, SPH later confirmed that "a member of its staff" was hospitalized and also revealed that, in fact, not 1 but 2 editors were involved with the same junior staff.
On 4 Oct, ST was forced to publicly acknowledge and publish news of ST censuring its 2 editors for breaching the company's code of conduct.
One editor was demoted and redeployed, and the other was given a written warning, had his salary docked and was redeployed.