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October: Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

The Minnesota Association of Professional Employees hosted a walking/running event last weekend to raise awareness about the problem of workplace bullying. (MAPE)
The Minnesota Association of Professional Employees hosted a walking/running event last weekend to raise awareness about the problem of workplace bullying. (MAPE)
October 6, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and groups in Minnesota are working to let victims know they don't have to tolerate it.

Bullying doesn't stop on the school yard, said Alice Percy, a member of the Anti-Bullying Task Force for the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, or MAPE. Her group played a key role in developing what is known as the "Respectful Workplace Policy.” Percy said it protects the state's 40,000 employees by giving them a place to turn when they feel threatened at work.

"Some of the schoolyard bullies grow up to be workplace bullies,” Percy said. “You still have people who are being disrespectful and bullying, even once you get a job and you're supposedly a grownup."

According to a 2014 survey from the Workplace Bullying Institute, more than one-in-four workers in the United States reports being bullied by a coworker or boss.

MAPE recently participated in a kickoff event for National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Minnesota was the first state to enact a policy protecting victims of bullying. But Percy pointed out that it only covers state employees, and therefore could be expanded.

"There's still a whole ton of people who are not state employees that are probably being bullied,” she said. "So, this is a start of letting people know that there's a policy out there that they could maybe take parts of to implement, or to use in their own businesses. And just to make sure that everybody can go to work and be safe and respected."

Research from the Workplace Bullying Institute found that highly skilled, long-time employees were most often the targets of threats and intimidation on the job, primarily because the bully felt threatened by them.

Information about workplace bullying laws is available at stopbullying.gov.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MN