The Employers Obligation & Responsibility for workplace violence
(another excerpt from the book)
It still amazes me to no end that employers, especially those in the C-suite, are so in denial about workplace violence (WPV). They simply refuse to believe that it can happen to them and their business/location.
I’m not completely sure of why they continue to deny the possibility. I do realize that most of the C-suite is sequestered away from the real world and don’t pay much attention except to the P & L reports. That is unfortunate. They do have to realize that preparing the company, which means spending money, to plan for WPV will save their financial bottom line in years ahead.
Another thing that I have said for several years is ‘If you ignore a problem and stick your head in the sand like an ostrich, don’t be surprised if you get bit in the butt!’ And with WPV it is so true. And if you get bit in the butt, it can be in many different ways – remember BP and the oil spill? Do you remember the firestorm that erupted over the CEO’s lack of re/action?
While I’m not a great proponent of government, they have set forth some very good guidelines and rules for helping employees stay safe at work. These take the approach that the employer is responsible if an employee gets hurt on the job in an incident of WPV.
The employer’s responsibility is spelled out in what is called the ‘General Duty Clause’. It states in no uncertain terms;
Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.
This means that the employer must provide a place for the employee to work that is safe no matter what. If they don’t have a worksite that is safe, then they can be sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or privately by the employee.
And just because the term is in that statement of recognized hazards, doesn’t mean that WPV can’t be sued over. If an employer denies or refuses to see a problem then that means they are short-sighted not because the hazard isn’t recognized.
Definition of Workplace Violence:
I have stated for a number of years that many incidents that aren’t considered WPV by most people should be and actually are WPV. What are those, you ask? Simple. And will let another organization spell them out for you – Workplace Violence Research Institute of Palm Springs, Ca.
Any act against an employee that creates a hostile work environment and negatively affects the employee, either physically or psychologically;
All forms of harassment.
These can be taken in many forms. It is up to the employer, and their agents (supervisors, managers, & so on) to ensure that none of these are taking place. If they allow any of these they can be sued. Whether they do unwittingly or not.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, blogs, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security arena for more than 31 years, and 22 studying workplace/school violence issues.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him through his Facebook page at One is too Many. Here you will see and read about other items related to WPV/SV as well as incidents you may not have heard or thought about.