HRSINGAPORE Community Discussions

Verbal Abuse - Update 2 (Replies)


Dear HR Professionals,

 I received a complaint by a staff who said that her superior constantly "barked" at her with a disapproving tone or disgusted tone. This "tone" is used even for normal distributing of tasks to do, updates of tasks, etc. This has been going on for quite sometime. She said it started when she did not complete 2 tasks to her superior's satisfaction a year or so ago. Is the constant "disapproval tone" used considered a kind of "verbal abuse"? She felt it could also be due to her advanced age .

Appreciate your thoughts on this.

Thank you.




We know human relationship is neither black or white. I feel that if the employee can tolerate such verbal treatment with wisdom (zen), the relationship will improve over time.




If you do not approach and counsel the supervisor, I think the victim could approach Union and MOM for mediation, and those diggings will be ugly and bad for the image of the company. I despise such “method” of treating staffs if intentional to chase them away as if he/she is poor performer, just give them the notice period and depart happily; it is a small world.




Agreed with DKSW to some extend. I suggest the following approaches:

1) The Superior
- find out why he/she is doing this to her staff.
- coach him/her on better ways of dealing with staff performance
- if the company has code of conduct, core values, use these to your advantage
- educate him/her on age discrimination and fair employment practise

2) The staff
- Investigate a bit more into her feedback
- It takes two hands to clap, make an assessment

Bring the two together and have an open talk. But before that, do the leg work.




Yes this can be considered instituted workplace harassment if it caused 

Extracted from Tripartite-Advisory On Managing Workplace harassment:

Workplace harassment can occur when one party at the workplace demonstrates behaviour that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to another party. Such behaviour can violate a person’s dignity or create an unfavourable work environment for him/her, which poses a risk to the person’s safety and health.

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