By Siti Baaqiah Mamat
KUALA LUMPUR: “I am always bullied at my workplace,” lamented Faizah (not her real name).
Faizah, an auditor at a government-linked company, regards being constantly burdened with complicated tasks, colleagues using unpleasant words on her, and always going home late due to the workload as bullying actions.
Amira (not her real name), an accountant at a private company, meanwhile, feels that she is being bullied when her capability is often belittled by her senior colleagues.
She also sees herself as being bullied because she has difficulty getting leave and her medical leave chit is always being questioned.
According to Prof Dr Marhani Midin, Psychiatry Department head at Chancellor Tuanku Muhriz Hospital, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, bullying at the workplace involved victimisation or discrimination – physically or mentally.
She said among the forms of bullying at the workplace were frequent and deliberate giving of heavy tasks to an employee lacking the capability of doing those tasks, belittling the capability of an employee or colleague, or sidelining certain workers to the extent of psychologically affecting them.
Dr Marhani said those bullied would feel pressured and unhappy with the work environment, thus adversely affecting their productivity and quality of work.
“The work culture in Malaysia is rather worrying as our achievement is largely measured through competition with colleagues to the extent of resulting in victimisation for some.
“It’s more worrying when the victims of bullying face resulting stress-related health problems such as high blood pressure, asthma, psoriasis and insomnia.
“However, due to the definition of bullying being subjective, there is no specific law to protect the victims of bullying at the workplace, except when there are threats or physical force involved,” she said.
Therefore, she advised victims to report their situation to the management or the police if there have been extreme harassment involved.
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said all organisations should view seriously the issue of bullying at the workplace as pressure or stress from such actions were also related to the issue of occupational safety and health.
He said employers needed to feel responsible to implement prevention measures or to reduce the psychological risks on workers, so as to create a healthier work environment with employees also feeling appreciated.
“This would contribute to a more positive environment, hence raising work productivity and the organisation’s performance,” he added.