The Employers Obligation & Responsibility for preventing WPV
Employers, especially those in the C-suite, are in denial about the effects of workplace violence (WPV) on their businesses. They simply refuse to believe that it can happen to them and their business. And if they do believe it can happen they figure that they can handle the increased insurance and bad PR.
I’m not completely sure of why they continue to deny the possibility. Unless it’s because they are 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.’ How many large multi-national corporations have been bitten because they didn’t take of a problem when it was small and manageable?
The federal government has 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. And this does include WPV, and in some cases even off the job.
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 violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, a twice weekly blog, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security field for more than 31 years, and 23 studying workplace 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 at 480-251-5197 or through his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/oneistoomany. Here you will see and read about other items related to security as well as WPV.