Gender equality advocacy group AWARE launched a new service on Wednesday (25 September) to provide comprehensive support to anyone who is facing harassment and discrimination at work.
Workplace Harassment and Discrimination (WHDA) service – which opens to both union and non-union members – offers both practical advice and emotional support to any person above the age of 18 working in Singapore. In addition, these individuals can also come from any nationality and at any stage of their distress to use WHDA.
For those who wants to use the service, they will first need to call the WHDA helpline to make an appointment with a specialised advisor, who will walk them through various recourse options. Counselling or pro-bono legal advice may also be scheduled, depending on the needs of the client.
Generally, the service is free but some features that users decide to opt for, like counselling, can carry a low fee.
Although WHDA is primarily targeted at women, men experiencing gender-based discrimination and harassment (such as being denied the use of flexible work arrangements because caregiving is “not a man’s job”) can use the service as well.
When it comes to the kinds of discrimination faced by female WHDA user, it may include gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, nationality, family responsibilities and maternity. On the other hand, types of harassment may include workplace bullying and workplace sexual harassment, physical and otherwise.
“In our experience, many employees are not aware of the full range of actions available to them in situations of discrimination or harassment. Some fear being identified or labelled as troublemakers. Some are averse to escalating a situation; they simply wish the mistreatment to stop, so they can continue working,” said Shailey Hingorani, AWARE’s Head of Research and Advocacy.
Currently, there is no other service in Singapore providing confidential, bespoke, holistic support for workplace harassment and discrimination.
“You don’t have to wait to have been terminated to call WHDA. You don’t even have to be certain that what you’re facing is discrimination or harassment. WHDA will help you make sense of your situation,” noted Ms Hingorani.
For those who wish to use the service, they can do so by calling WHDA helpline at 6950 9191, Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm.
For more information about AWARE’s Workplace Harassment and Discrimination Advisory, click here to visit their website.