Workplace Bullying and Harassment: Legal Issues and Recommendation for Companies in Indonesia
Written by Marshel Miyata and edited by Rima Widyasari
The recent workplace bullying and sexual harassment incident happened in Komisi Penyiaran Indonesia (“KPI”) has shared great concern for Indonesian society. Such cases are surprisingly not new in Indonesia. Referring to a research by Gunawan, Prihanto, and Yuwanto in 2019, it showed that out of 129 respondents, 49% of them had witnessed workplace harassment happened at their workplace.
Compared to several years ago, there has been an increase in the number of companies which attempt to prevent and take strict action towards workplace bullying and harassment. Some companies have been trying to adopt positive values such as “inclusion”, “equality”, and “non discrimination”. However, such measures have not been a priority for many companies in Indonesia.
From a legal point of view, we think there are two main reasons that resonates with this problem:
- Absence of Specific Regulations
Despite that proper treatment within working relationships is one of the human rights assured in Article 28D of 1945 Constitution, there are still no laws in Indonesia that specifically deal with workplace bullying and harassment. Article 86 of Manpower Law mentions that every worker has the right to receive occupational safety and health protection, protection against immorality and indecency, and treatment that shows respect to human dignity and religious values. However, the liability arising from it is not yet further regulated. Consequently, workplace bullying and harassment can only rely on several general articles in Criminal Code. Such conditions make employers more uncaring and unresponsive, and on the contrary perceived that bullying and harassment happening at the workplace is the private matter of the employees.
Some countries have enacted a specific regulation on workplace bullying and harassment. One of them is Sweden, which was the first country to enact a statute on these issues in 1993. Regardless of the direct effectiveness of the statute, its existence has significantly impacted the workplace environment in Sweden and has attracted many other countries’ attention to this matter. Other countries, such as Australia, Canada, and South Korea, also followed the lead of Sweden to enact a new statute for workplace bullying and harassment. Moreover, in 2019, ILO stated that workplace bullying and harassment cannot be tolerated, and suggested countries to start adopting the Convention No. 190 concerning Eliminating Violence and Harassment in the World of Work, which came into force in June 2021. Therefore, looking at the current situation, Bullyid would like to push the government of Indonesia to quickly ratify the Convention.
Furthermore, Bullyid also would like to push the government of Indonesia to immediately pass the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill (RUU PKS). Analyzing the content of the bill, it has completely clarify the meaning of sexual harassment (which is still unclear in the current Criminal Code), including its criminal aspects and remedies. In addition, RUU PKS has a pro-victim characteristics that could accommodate difficulties that have hindered the resolution of sexual harassment cases. Through the enactment of RUU PKS, legal certainty will be achieved and therefore sexual harassment cases will no longer taken lightly in the society.
- Poor Law Enforcement
Considering what the victim of the KPI workplace bullying and harassment case has gone through, we could see that law enforcement systems are less responsive in responding to the report of workplace bullying and harassment cases. They tend to return such reports back to the victim to be resolved internally. This shows that in sexual harassment cases in Indonesia, victims are not being favored when they should be favored first instead. We believe that the perpetrator should be held responsible for the damage they gave to the victim and this can only be achieved with strong law enforcement. Supposing that the law enforcement officers in the KPI case took an action earlier, the victim will not suffer any longer and it will be a good example for the society and cause a deterrent effect for other perpetrators.
Then, what can employers do when there is workplace bullying and harassment in their company?
Although the external factors are not supporting the elimination of workplace bullying and harassment cases, we think that employers could also take their own action to eliminate the cases in their workplace. Some of our recommendations are as follows:
- Create an internal company policy regarding workplace bullying and harassment.
- Educate all of the employees and other personnels of the company regarding workplace bullying and harassment.
- Take real action when workplace bullying and harassment occur at your workplace, listen to the victim first, ensure the safety and security of the victim.
- Eliminate gender bias in sexual harassment case and raising awareness of gender sensitive behavior amongst employees.
- Conduct a periodic counselling with the employees to hear out their problems at work, especially to check whether there is any workplace bullying and harassment they experience.
- Install CCTVs or other monitoring devices covering all the workplace area to maximize evidence gathering activities in the future when there is a report.
Other than those five recommendations, employers could also establish an anonymous reporting system to encourage reporting by the employees. Many employees feel reluctant to report their bullying and harassment cases, particularly when the perpetrator is someone with a higher position, because they could not bear the risk of losing their job as their source of income.
That is why, Bullyid is here to help companies by providing an anonymous reporting and counselling system for companies. Contact us for further information.
Fajri, Rahmatul (2021). Pegawai KPI Pernah Lapor ke Polsek Gambir, Tapi Tidak Ditanggapi. Retrieved 5 October 2021, from https://mediaindonesia.com/politik-dan-hukum/429870/pegawai-kpi-pernah-lapor-ke-polsek-gambir-tapi-tidak-ditanggapi.
Hoel, H. and Einarsen, S. (2010). The Swedish Ordinance Against Victimization at Work: A Critical Assessment. Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal, 32 (1), hlm-hlm.
Gunawan, R., Prihanto, S., and Yuwanto, L. (2009). Causes and The Intensity of Workplace Bullying. Anima, Indonesian Psychological Journal, 25 (1), 47-54.
Manpower Act (2003). Retrieved 5 October 2021, from https://jdih.kemnaker.go.id/asset/data_puu/peraturan_file_13.pdf.
The 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia (last amended 2002). Retrieved 5 October 2021, from https://www.dpr.go.id/jdih/uu1945.
Wood, Johnny (2019). Workplace Bullies Could Now Go to Jail in South Korea. Retrieved 5 October 2021, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/07/workplace-bullies-jail-south-korea/.