Except for two verbal complaints of sexual harassment at workplace reported through the telephone, the “Go to Person” (GtP) has to date not received any written complaint from civil servants.
The Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) instituted GtP on July 3 last year to help civil servants report incidences related to sexual harassment at workplace including official travels, conferences and meetings.
Senior human resources officer with RCSC’s well-being services, Sherab Zangpo said that the two complainants who verbally reported the case did not want to reveal their identity or the organisation and so the Commission could not take any action.
“There was a complaint about harassment by a parking fee collector and since this was not at a workplace, we asked them to report to police,” he said, adding there was another case but it was referred to National Commission for Women and Child (NCWC).
The GtP was established as a response and re-dressal mechanism during the 136th commission meeting to respond and provide timely and effective assistance, and to have zero tolerance to all forms of sexual harassment at the workplace.
Sherab Zangpo who also looks after the GtP said sexual harassment is a complex subject. Any unwelcome behaviours practiced at workplace can be reported to the GtP.
“It could probably be a hesitance to report than the lack of awareness among civil servants,” he said. “We sensitised all human resources officers who relayed the information to the civil servants.”
According to the standard operating procedure, sexual harassment at the workplace is divided into four categories – verbal or written, physical, non-verbal, and visual.
Sherab Zangpo said an individual could file a written complaint in person to GtP following which the complaint would be registered for review by the wellbeing committee. If the misconduct was found to be petty, it would be dealt as per the BCSR while major cases would be referred to NCWC.
The RCSC as a part of the “civil service welfare” set up the civil service support desk (CCSD) and launched the GtP to resolve non-HR action related issues at the workplace.
Since the launch of support desk in 2015, 24 cases related to alcohol and drugs and two incidences of mental health were reported. Sherab Zangpo said about four cases especially related to family issues are reported every week.
“Once we receive a complaint, RCSC instead of penalising and reprimanding individuals in the past now refer them for counseling, detox and rehabilitation,” he said. “We become the guardian and facilitate their medical leave.”
Of the 26, 10 civil servants have already undergone rehabilitation and resumed service after which RCSC monitors their performance with the HR reporting on their performance every month.
Two civil servants voluntarily resigned after they refused to undergo rehab. “We monitor but sometimes it is difficult especially when they run away during detox. We’ve to find them and take them for rehab again.”
The civil service wellbeing programme was initiated as part of five reforms under wellbeing services based on four pillars of – physical, psychological, environmental, and social wellbeing.
The civil service wellbeing services cater to two distinct phases of active duty tenure and after retirement of civil servants.
Yangchen C Rinzin