Aside from the legal consequences and financial impact, employers have a moral obligation to protect their employees. Treating people fairly, with dignity and respect is the core of violence prevention. A workplace violence policy is essential. Studies have yet to determine why employees act violently or what preventative measures will minimize risk.
The most successful programs focus on improving employees’ personal growth and quality of life. It’s an holistic approach, designed to encourage employees to disclose personal problems that may include: domestic abuse, mental health issues, and antisocial or bullying behavior of coworkers. Employers may choose to create a team comprised of various disciplines that include: Human Resources, Security, EAP and senior management. The team’s purpose is to initiate a communication process that ensures confidentiality and encourages employees to become involved and report incidents. The team responds to the employee reports and creates and/or communicates protocol that fits the culture and vision of the company. The team is also responsible for security assessments.
Intruders, as well as employees perpetrate violence. A number of steps can be taken to ensure the physical security of the building. At the minimum, parking lots should be well lit; access to the building should be limited; and people should not be physically isolated. Consider installing panic buttons, cameras, metal detectors and remote locking mechanisms. These measures may seem excessive, but your foresight will be comforting. Intruders may enter to commit arbitrary crimes or be associated with an employee. Domestic violence is a frequent cause of workplace violence. Homicide is the leading cause of death for females in the workplace. Former disgruntled employees may resort to violence for revenge or retribution. Give careful consideration to building security.
Review your workplace violence policy to make sure violence is carefully defined and consequences for such behavior are clear. The policy should include hiring, retention, supervision and security. Make sure that related policies demonstrate consistency; conduct (substance abuse, weapons), harassment (include bullying and threatening behavior) and domestic violence policies should all interrelate. Evaluate and promote your problem resolution process, as well as your Employee Assistance Program. It is no longer a luxury to provide employees with standards of courtesy, diversity training and crisis response training. These actions are a must for a safe, healthy and productive work environment.
Profiling Violent Perpetrators
The profiled perpetrator of workplace violence is an antisocial male in his 40’s with recent disappointments in life and access to weapons. People who commit acts of violence frequently fit one or more of the following profiles, though not all people who fall into the categories are violent.