My personal workplace violence summary

by todaystrainingblog

A personal reckoning with workplace violence

To give everyone a perspective of my personal workplace violence (WPV) stories I’ve been encouraged to write this for some time. So, of the nearly 4 dozen incidents that I’ve been a part of in my 32 years in security I’ll begin…

I started for Wells Fargo Guard Services in St. Joseph MO. In June 1983, at the Peachtree Doors & Windows plant. I received my first verbal assault about 5 months later from an employee. No one notified me that they were going to work on Friday, they worked 4 10 hour days, and the employee door was locked forcing them to make a trip around the building, in the cold & snow.

In the years I was posted as a security officer, I received a few more verbal assaults. I then was transferred to the Monfort Pork plant in St. Joseph where I received a few more. None were threatening, but getting called names and dumb*** because of something the client did…

In 1991 I joined ASIS and was posted to the Avis Rent-A-Car exit gate at Kansas City International Airport (KCI). I nearly got run over by a few customers because they didn’t want me to hold them up checking their paperwork or anything else.

After a tumultuous exit from Wells Fargo in 1996 I worked for Allied (now Allied-Barton). I got numerous words of praise from clients and officers, except one. After being named an Operations Supervisor (scheduler) an employee came in sat at my desk and refused to leave threatening to ‘pound my ass into the carpet’ if he didn’t get paid for hours in which there was no record of him working.

In 1998 I was an Account Manager with Uni-Guard Security of Kansas City where I got my next 2. I was patrolling the front of the Two Pershing Square office building when a homeless man pulled a knife on me after I asked him to move along and not panhandle the tenants.

A few weeks later… I had a .45 pistol pointed at me by someone who was bothering female workers at the Payless Cashways Corporate Office by asking them if they wanted to take an all expenses paid vacation to Hawaii. He then took off and disappeared down the stairs and out the door to the then still abandoned, but under extensive restoration, Union Station.

While working for First Response, Inc. an officer told me if I didn’t stay out of another officers, and his dealings with her,  business, she had loaned him some magazines or some such and asked me to retrieve them, he promised that I wouldn’t be able to work for a year. I told the VP & President and they transferred him to another supervisor.

After moving to the Phoenix area and working for TerraMar, day labor, Staffing, there were a few more verbal assaults. I had one threat of physical violence but as was the case for me, nothing came of it. And this was all within a 6 week period. Then I went blind just a week after that.

Most of the WPV incidents I’ve been a ‘victim’ of have been verbal, which lends credence that there are 15 million assaults in the country per year. I’ve also had things thrown at me in anger, pens, pencils, coffee cups, paper, & even a stapler, by people, which is also considered a WPV assault.

I’ve also been a part of numerous extra security coverages because a client’s employee threatened violence. These came with all security companies I worked for except the now defunct Universal Protective Services. About a half dozen each with Wells Fargo and Allied. 2 with Uni-Guard and 4 with First Response.

Before I began studying WPV, I never considered these as workplace violence. But as I have read, learned, studied, wrote, spoke, & researched WPV I see that they were. And my experiences have led me to believe the University of South Florida’s study in 2005 on WPV.

I’ve long been a student of workplace/school violence, ever since I joined ASIS in 1991. And since then I’ve been doing everything I can to help clients and people of all sorts try to stay safe while they are at work or school.

I’ve written dozens of articles on the subject. Been interviewed numerous times on the radio, TV, and in print. Given dozens of presentations to groups on it. And the one thing that I have learned, if nothing else, about WPV.

You can’t stop learning and re-evaluating your views and observations about this crime. Every time you think you have it figured out, then the facts take a wiggly woggly meander and force you to throw out your old conventions. And this is one reason I don’t follow conventional wisdom, to try and stay one step ahead.

And that’s what makes me so passionate about it. There’s always something to learn, read, research, or listen to about the subject. So, even being blind I continue to try and learn and protect people from this crime.

No one knows better than, except the families, the carnage that it causes. From the loss of friends and loved ones, to the financial loss of the family bread winner, to the child who will never see mommy or daddy again.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear