Workplace Violence is Real and Coming to an Office Near You If You Don’t Take Preventative Measures

April 2015 is Workplace Violence Awareness Month. Although it is sad that we even have to type those words, the reality is we live in a dangerous time where the threat of an individual coming into the office with a gun and attacking innocent victims is all too real. Between 2006 and 2010 3,000 people were victims of workplace homicides in the United States. Clearly this is an issue that needs attention both from a simple workplace safety perspective and from a liability perspective.

Threats of Workplace Violence Cause a Stressful Environment

They typical workplace violence scenario does not end in gunfire, but is nevertheless stressful for everyone involved. Most commonly, a disgruntled employee or ex-employee makes a threat of violence towards a supervisor, manager, or generally on the office he or she works or worked at. While the vast majority of these threats are never carried out, they set in motion a chain of events that ends in the office seeking and obtaining a civil harassment restraining order against the individual who made the threat. This process is expensive and time-consuming yet absolutely necessary to protect the office from liability in the event the individual comes into the office guns blazing.

In addition to the legal process that must be initiated, employees must be notified that a threat has occurred, leading to serious emotional toll on the office as a whole. This can often mean employees out on stress-related leave and a total loss of productivity from a threat of workplace violence. Sadly, this is the best-case scenario. If an employee actually commits an act of violence in the office the aftermath is far worse. With that in mind, how can the risk of workplace violence be reduced?

Workplace Violence Training Programs Mitigate the Risk of Dangerous Acts

The problem of workplace violence is an outgrowth of the bullying and psychological turmoil faced by some individuals both at home and at work. Therefore, by training employees on the value of diversity in thought and fostering a culture that frowns on negative treatment toward employees, you can implement a preventative strategy whereby employees know they can come to upper management for help before things get out of control.

Although such a strategy does not eliminate the risk of a rogue employee committing a violent act or threat thereof, you can at least be confident that by training managers on anti-bullying and diversity that you have fostered a workplace culture that will not tolerate the types of behavior most likely to lead an employee to threaten or commit an act of workplace violence. Indeed, it is the culture that can prevent these acts from happening.

Syntrio is committed to helping businesses prevent horrific acts of violence from taking place within their offices. Contact for more information about our workplace violence prevention courses and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that may impact your business!

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