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National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month is for employees too

This month has been designated National Bullying Prevention Awareness month. While much of the media coverage of this event has centered on the behavior of children and schools, an increasing number of adults are suffering from bullying as a form of employment discrimination. As a result, the lessons being advanced by advocates of this month's campaign can apply to the workplace as well as the schoolyard.

More than 8 million people across America have viewed the recent YouTube coverage of news anchor Jennifer Livingston's response to a bullying email she received from a viewer. Specifically, the viewer asked Livingston to consider resigning from her position because her overweight appearance allegedly makes her an unsuitable role model for young women in the community.

In addition to viewing the coverage, millions have posted the footage on Facebook, sent in letters to their own local news outlets and Tweeted in support of Livingston. Though the inappropriate and offensive email was sent by a viewer and not a co-worker, Livingston acknowledges that kids and adults can be subjected to this kind of treatment in any number of situations.

The number of individuals who have spoken out in support of Livingston will hopefully inspire other adults who either witness or are exposed to bullying behavior in the workplace to speak out.

Though employees who are subject to a hostile work environment can ultimately seek legal redress for the situation, ideally, unacceptable bullying behavior will be dealt with immediately and appropriately by management and fellow employees.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Fat? Gay? Keep your head up: Bullies, this month is to combat you," Amy Hubbard, Oct. 7, 2012

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