A supervisor contacts the Employee Relations Office because one of his employees is making the other employees in the office uncomfortable. He said the employee does not seem to have engaged in any actionable misconduct but, because of the agency's new workplace violence policy, and the workplace violence training he had just received, he thought he should at least mention what was going on. The employee was recently divorced and had been going through a difficult time for over two years and had made it clear that he was having financial problems which were causing him to be stressed out. He was irritable and aggressive in his speech much of the time. He would routinely talk about the number of guns he owned, not in the same sentence, but in the same general conversation in which he would mention that someone else was causing all of his problems (Office of Personnel Management/case study).
In thirty-five seconds or less a violent crime will occur somewhere in the homeland, a murder will also take place in a half hour. These figures came from a Los Angeles Base Security Business that give security advice and referrals from the web. The report was ten years old and nothing else was found on workplace violence. The Department of Justice has publications from the National Assisted Academy. In Chapter 22, Special Topics; Section Five, Workplace Violence; it states that nearly one thousand workers are murdered each year; 1.5 million or more are assaulted while on the job. Out of 709 homicides in the workplace at least 80 percent of them were shot and nine percent were stabbed. Assaults and threats of violence against Americans at work numbers almost two million a year (National Crime Victimization Survey). The reduced productivity from lost work, medical costs, and workers’ compensation payments cost business billions of dollars (University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center). The primary motive for job-related homicide is robbery, which accounts for eighty-five percent of the deaths (National Assisted Academy). Age difference statistics reports that fifty percent of all victims killed were between twenty-five and forty –four years old (National Assisted Academy).
The Department of Justice had listed four types of workplace offenders; it summarizes what kind of person fits in the category.
The first type offender is a person having no legitimate relationship to the workplace or victim. This type of person enters a place, and commit robbery, theft, terrorist acts. The second type offender is the recipient of some service provided by the victim or workplace; the third type of offender is a person having an employment-related involvement with the workplace. The forth type offender is a person who has an indirect involvement with the workplace because of a relationship with an employee. In reality there are far more violent acts directed at workers than caused by workers, the media tends to focus more on type three and four.
The National Crime Victimization Survey of the National Assisted Academy notes that there are fourteen occupations that have a high risk of violence. They are, in order from most risk to least; police officers, corrections officers, taxi drivers, private security guards, bartenders, mental health professionals, gas station attendants, convenience and liquor store clerks, mental health custodial workers, junior high/middle school teachers, bus drivers, special education teachers, high school teachers and nurse.
There are ten factors that may increase a worker’s risk for workplace assault; those who have contact with public, exchange of money, delivery of passengers, goods or services, having a mobile workplace such as a taxicab or police cruiser, working with unstable or volatile persons, working alone or in small numbers, working late at night or early morning hours, high crime areas, guarding valuable property or possessions and last is working in community-based settings (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Heath).
Workplace violence is any action or disruptive behavior that may threaten the safety of an employee/employer; creating a hostel environment, impact the employee’s physical or psychological well - being, threats and intimidation or causing damage to company property. Warning indications of potential workplace violence are intimidating, harassing, bullying, belligerent, or other inappropriate and aggressive behavior. Also having numerous conflicts with customers, co-workers, or supervisors. Bringing a weapon to the workplace (unless necessary for the job), making inappropriate references to guns, or making idle threats about using a weapon to harm someone are considered violent.
Giving statements showing fascination with incidents of workplace violence or statements indicating the approval of the use of violence to resolve a problem are also considered workplace violence. Personal problems such as dealing with depressions, making statements indicating desperation over personal problems to the point of contemplating suicide also the abuse of narcotics, alcohol, and legal drugs can also be considered violent in the workplace. Extreme change of behavior, and making statements such as “I have a plan to solve all the problems” are considered workplace violence.
According to the F.B.I some factors can contribute to negativity and stress in the workplace, understaffing leading to job overload or compulsory overtime, frustrations arising from poorly defined job task/responsibilities, downsizing or reorganization. Labor disputes, poor labor-management relations, poor management styles (unexplained orders; over-monitoring, reprimands of an employee in front of others), inadequate security, and lack of employee counseling service. The United States Government had empathize that companies should have a written policy statement, a plan on how to deal with a threat before it turns into a serious incident.
The conclusion of this research lies on many questions, such as, is it necessary to have a written policy statement? How serious should a threat be taken? What should an individual do in a response to a threat or, worst, a shooting incident at the office? If that happens should the individual go into combat mode and reclaim the office by taking down the hostel employee? In my research I notice that a written policy statement informs employees that it covers intimidation, harassment or other inappropriate behavior that threatens or frightens them. The policy should also have information on who to call and it also demonstrates senior management commitment to dealing with reported incidents (office of personnel management).
A threat of any kind warrants an investigation, even if there was no witness. In response to a hostel employee shooting up the building, however, I would rather go into combat mode and take down the individual but if security is available I let them handle it after all its what they're there for.