When an employee is at work, they shouldn’t have to worry about dealing with bullies or workplace violence. Yet, just because someone is at the office, doesn’t mean they are immune from danger. Every day, millions of people go to work with the task of getting projects done. Unfortunately, a co-worker may have their own agenda that management isn’t paying attention to. Sometimes, the behavior can start with an off color remark by a frustrated co-worker. Maybe they are mad at a manager and say “I’d like to shoot that guy right now. Ha! Ha! Just joking.” Or let’s say a male co-worker chatting around the water cooler talks about how “hot” the new receptionist is, then backtracks by adding he’s not really serious. Other employees may feel creeped out by the comments, but somehow management doesn’t get the message. Before words turn into actions, IMG can bring a secure workplace violence consulting plan to the table.
Although the evening news puts a spotlight on workplace violence (if it bleeds, it leads), the increase of incidents is real. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics has noted workplace violence fatalities have risen nationwide. Forty-nine people were killed by a co-worker in 2011. It went up to sixty-one in 2014. It’s a fact that workplace violence can be detrimental to your business. Strange and bullying behavior from a co-worker can disrupt work and lower overall employee moral. The worst that can happen is a co-worker finally shows up to the office with a gun. Either way, it is a costly mistake to ignore “locker room banter” and angry fits by an employee in the workplace. Our workplace violence consultants can help in securing the workplace and evaluating real threats to your employees.
Workplace Violence Consulting is no Joking Matter
By the time Steven Damien Young shot and killed co-worker Jacob Cadriel with a 38-caliber handgun, employees on the floor knew the killer to be a threat. The company was later sued by Mr. Cadriels family for failing to provide any training for handling this type of violent behavior in the workplace. They were also charged with negligent hiring by not conducting a thorough criminal and background check. A jury in Texas awarded Mr. Cadriels’ widow more than one million dollars. What they could never compensate for was the loss of a father to a five-year-old little boy. This kind of story could have been avoided if a workplace violence consulting group were contacted. A disturbed person like Mr. Young could have been stopped at the door before being hired. And if, for any reason he still passed the hiring process, his ability to just walk into a building with a gun may have been avoided with the proper security checks.
Instead of reacting to a tragedy, it’s important to meet with a workplace violence consulting expert before it can occur. Auditing vulnerabilities in the workplace prior to an attack is an important obligation of any employer. A quirky employee with a habit for making “bad jokes” to co-workers may just need comprehensive workplace harassment training. If a problem employee is prone to throwing coffee cups, making veiled threats or getting a bit too touchy with co-workers, they should be looked at a bit closer. Identifying and handling bullying behavior in the office is the first step. Also, reviewing the security of the workplace and properly vetting those who enter can stop a violent co-worker in their tracks. If you need to review your workplace violence security process, contact our expert IMG consultants.