KARACHI: We often hear harassment at workplaces at public as well as private institutions but the term is mostly tagged with gender-based harassment. However, harassment is a wide term that also involves exertion of coercion by superior employees against subordinates. Unfortunately, this kind of non-gender harassment has been ignored and unattained due attention in media yet. Harassment is mostly perpetrated by senior officers, in the guise of performance, informally known as bullying at workplace deriving unnecessary advantages of his/her authority to humiliate subordinates.
It is worth mentioning that the Constitution of Pakistan gives every citizen the right to work with dignity yet many public institutions practise colonial bureaucratisation to keep subordinates subjugated. This reminds one of the bonded labour era.
Paradoxically, the practice of bullying in private institutions is dying and superior officers are given training on how to mobilise employees through various initiatives, the public institutions are also reviving centuries-old mechanisms. A well-trained officer will try to employ a soft approach to get his work done whereas the biased officer will try to exert pressure by misusing his/her authority to cloud inefficiency. Harassment causes mental and physical problems that ultimately affects the performance of employees, hurts morale and shatters confidence.
It is high time the authorities concerned realise this grave concern of subordinates and set rules for safeguarding the rights of employees to work with dignity as practised in civilised societies.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2018.