If you are worried about Workplace Violence…
You need to look at these 4 groups of people who are the most likely to perpetrate an incident within, or in some instances outside of, your business. Some of these may surprise you and the company you work for as to them being considered workplace violence (WPV).
But I can assure you that they are in fact real threats that can, and possibly will at some future point, be perpetrated on your business, customers, and against you, even away from the business at your home. And you have to remember this little cliché of mine: It can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any reason
But before we can prevent, or lessen the risk, of any WPV incident we must first know and understand where the threat comes from. There are four groups of people in which WPV originates from;
- Violence as a result of another crime:
Roughly 79% – 85% of all WPV falls into this category. And it really depends on where you get your statistics from as to which number is correct. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, FBI, OSHA, and others all have differing numbers to reflect on for them. Only the security professional, or consultant, within your business can help to prevent these kinds of incidents.
These incidents come from normal crimes that result in violence within a business such as armed robbery, vandalism, regular theft which goes wrong and etc. Whether your employees attempt to prevent it or not won’t have any effect on if they get injured or threatened. Some hooligans will kill or injure them to keep them from talking or reiterate their point. However, it doesn’t matter if they are physically injured or not, they will all feel threatened.
- Current or former employees:
The most commonly reported form of WPV is the current or former employee. Keep in mind the statistics above of 79% – 85% resulting from another crime and you’ll see the disproportionate way it is reported within the media. That is probably because of the sensational nature of this kind of incident.
Usually the violence is caused by the perceived negative treatment, or some other supposedly disparate treatment, by supervisors or co-workers. And keep in mind whatever they perceive is going to be their reality, it doesn’t matter what the real truth of the matter may be, their Perception of events will be the trigger for the incident.
However, there are two things that will help your company avoid any wrongful disciplinary action or dismissal lawsuits if you need to terminate a current employee. These need to be followed up on by human resources, security, or upper management at all times to ensure that it is done, and done correctly:
Training your supervisors on recognizing warning signs and the most effective and, efficient ways of confronting the employee before placing it in their records. This would probably be best handled by a combination of security and HR or a certified mediator.
#2 is the value and power of documentation. It is one of those vitally necessary things to prove in a court of law that you followed every possible recourse and that the employee was following the path towards being terminated. All incidents involving employees all the fights, arguments, and so on must be documented every single time, including the derogatory comments, swearing, & otherwise distasteful words. And these words MUST be spelled out in their entirety to prevent any lawyer from saying you didn’t get it right with the f*****g ‘censoring of the words.
If you feel threatened by a former employee, then you need to do a little more than just the above steps. It may be necessary to hire security officers for a period of time and increase the vigilance and surveillance of the business. Keep in mind that some former employees have come back years after their firing to injure or kill their co-workers, manager, or business owner.
It is not realistic to keep extra officers on staff for an extended period, unless there is a verifiable and credible threat, which can be extremely subjective. Therefore to avoid expending financial resources, your business may not have, you need to perform a threat assessment with someone who knows how to conduct one. Yes a consultant can be expensive, but less so than years of extra security measures.
You will also notice that I didn’t mention lessening the existence of surveillance measures. A wise precaution would be to continually keep surveillance, and vigilance, for a longer period. This will ensure security for this potential incident and anything that may occur in the future.
(Look for the 2nd part of this post next week)
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 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