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Survey: 1 In 6 Adults Suffer Some Form Of Workplace Bullying

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Bullying isn't limited to colleges or even classroom. It happens everywhere. In fact, more adults are reporting being bullied at work.

Now, New York State is taking steps to help employees fight back, reports CBS 2's Kristine Johnson.

Bullied worker Lee Love has a message for all employers.

"Bosses beware. People will take action," Love said.

She's not upset about her workload -- or even her salary. Love is fed up with bullying in the workplace.

"I was a victim. I had a boss that literally slapped me on my butt," Love said.

Experts say an adult bully could be a boss, a manager and even a colleague, but their behavior isn't much different from a bully in the school yard.

"It could be a manager who feels the need to always put their hands on and re-do whatever it is your doing," human resources consultant Paul Bazell said.

We hear about kids bullying each other all the time, but a new survey shows 1 in 6 adults are being bullied in the workplace.

"Verbal abuse, work sabotage, social and physical isolation," said Mike Schlicht, co-coordinator for New York Healthy Workplace Advocates.

Schlicht said the bullying he endured at his job was so bad he dreaded going to work each day.

"The person does eventually get to the end of their capabilities to cope with the situation," Schlicht said.

Maria Morrissey's brother, Kevin, committed suicide last year after years of bullying at his job as an editor.

"He said 'please tell everyone I'm sorry, but I simply can't bear it anymore,'" Maria said. "Kevin put a bullet through his head because I think that he thought that he had no choice."

Two other New Yorkers -- Jodie Zebell and Marlene Braun -- have taken their lives as a direct result of office bullying.

Experts say in this economy employees often fear retaliation, so they don't speak up.

"We found that there was no resolution for workplace bullying," Schlicht said.

Schlicht's bullying advocacy group has even proposed legislation that would require employers to intervene in these situations.

"We actually had the bill passed in the Senate last year," Schlicht said.

If passed in the House next, the law would also require employers to pay bullying victims for lost wages, medical expenses, compensation for emotional distress and punitive damages.

"Had there been legislation in place Kevin would be alive today," Maria Morrissey said.

If you feel you're being targeted by a bully at work, experts say keep a log of your interactions and file a complaint with your human resources department.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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