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Lower Income Groups Are More Likely To Experience Workplace Bullying

bullying at workplace

“Don’t complain so much about work, at least you have a job!”

We’ve all been told to be grateful to have a job especially during these trying economic seasons where many others have been left without a job as a result of the pandemic. 

While complaining is an unhealthy habit, some complaints cannot be overlooked. Toxic work environments are a perfect breeding ground for ill mental health to develop and grow. 

bullying affects poor people
Source: Millennials of KL

Mental health has been a growing topic in recent years, but little is known of the extent of workplace bullying in Malaysia.

Individuals that are bullied at work are at a greater risk of having poor mental health as a result of the psychological distress[1]. Workplace bullying can lead to stress-related health issues, such as high blood pressure and it can also negatively impact the livelihood of a person as well as their relationship with people.

Almost 2 in 5 employees (39.1%) have experienced workplace bullying. It is found that employees from the lowest income groups, earning less than RM3,999 monthly were the most likely to be bullied and face psychological damage[1].

It is also found that over half (50.3%) of the employees from this income group have been or are still experiencing some form of workplace bullying.  

bullying at the workplace
Source: Financial Times

Another study also revealed that employees from lower-income groups were under more pressure to show up for work[2]. They may experience greater pressure from employers and co-workers to perform, in addition to having less authority over taking sick leave. 

Many employees of lower income groups do not have the luxury taking paid leave and days without work means not earning an income.

poor people experience bullying
Source: CNBC

Studies have also revealed that those affected are not likely to seek help and support for their mental health because:

  • They are unable to pay for mental health treatment costs. 
  • They do no want to be stigmatised or labelled for seeking psychological support

There are countless studies proving that workplace bullying can lead to mental health problems and those from lower-income groups are at higher risk of being bullied. Members of the B40 workforce remain vulnerable and subject to long term mental health distress. 

Explore Our Sources:

  1. Chan, C., Wong, J., Yeap, L. et al. Workplace bullying and psychological distress of employees across socioeconomic strata: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health 19, 608 (2019). Link.
  2. Wee, L., Yeap, L., Chan, C. et al. Anteceding factors predicting absenteeism and presenteeism in urban areas in Malaysia. BMC Public Health 19, 540 (2019). Link.

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