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Workplace Violence: The 21st Century Plague Dr. Patricia A. Alvara
2 Workplace Violence
Workplace Violence: The 21st Century Plague
For every moment one turns around anymore, one is inundated with violent news flashing before their eyes. Headlines sweep across the screen and newspapers as violence outbreaks at an organization once again. We seem not to be able to escape hearing, or seeing such horrific news any more. It is everywhere one turns; not only in the US, but internationally as well. Violence can be found in our homes, games our children play, music people listen to, our workplaces and now even our children’s schools. People begin to speculate and ask themselves who can they trust. A few weeks ago, if one turned on the local news, you would have heard about the story of a principal of an elementary school in Indiana taking an 11 year old student to Las Vegas. Now there is a female intern, Chandra Levy, missing from Washington DC. One hears about police officers shooting innocent people or becoming victims themselves. Even priests have been in the news for sexually harassing their parishioners. Psychologists manage to manipulate their patients into sexual misconduct. When will it end? Is the current violent outbreak of violence the new epidemic of the 21st Century? The purpose of this research paper is to examine what causes violence in our workplaces; to investigate if there are any prewarning signs perpetrators display prior to acting out; and to look at what steps organizations can take in order to assure safety and reduce their risks of violence in their workplace.
Violence is a generic term used to describe a variety of destructive behaviors which cause harm to people. Violence is powerful; it can impair efficiency and wastes resources in organizations. Violence is a dominator which destroys morale, motivation, and performance, as well as makes people very ill. If not controlled, violence can even destroy organizations legally and financially. “No company is immune to workplace violence” (Stabbings, YahooNews. 2001, p.2). The National Institute of Health (NIOSH) has declared homicides to become the second leading cause of occupational death next to motor-vehicle deaths (Workplace Violence-How, 2001). Most workplace violence occurs when organizations have contact with the public. “According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the workplace is the most dangerous place to be in America. The problem is so pervasive; the Center for Disease Control has classified workplace violence as a National Epidemic” (Grimme, 2000, p.1). • In 1993, there were over 110,000 reported incidents of violence (NIOSH) (Workplace Violence- Sentry, 2001). • • 1,000 employees are murdered each year (Gottschalk, 2001) The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that homicide is the leading cause of death for women at work, and it is the third cause of death at work for men (Stress and Workplace Violence,2000).
Violence in the United States as well as internationally has changed recently. “Violence in the workplace used to be thought of as only in the form of robbery attacks… lately in the past few years occupational violence has been growing…” (Gottschalk, 2001, p.1). In 1997, in Bangkok, Thailand, a former police officer, Lang Suan was a depressed, disgruntle employee. He was about to be reprimanded and transferred because of employee misconduct. He shot and killed 5 colleagues and wounded 5 more, then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide (Satore Township,. 2000, p.7). The Workplace Violence Typology first published by California Safety and Health Program (CALOSHA.1994) classified occupational violence in three categories:
Type I: Violence resulting from criminal activity perpetrated by someone who does not have any reason to be there in the organization. An example would be a teacher leaving school and being mugged in the parking lot; or a gas station robbery (Stress and Workplace Violence, 2000). Northwestern Natural Life Insurance Company indicated that 24% of violence in the workplace was committed by strangers (Statistics, 2000. p.1). On January 27, 1993 at Island Center Café, customers were sitting in their usual table. Near them were some managers from Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. Paul Calden shouts out, “What’s he doing here?” He then proceeds to open fire in the restaurant killing 3 and wounding 2. (Chavez, 1998, p3).
Type II: Violence is committed by a current or former client, customer or patient. An example would be an irate customer striking or verbally assaulting a member of a worker of the organization (Stress and Workplace Violence, 2000). Northwestern Natural Life Insurance Company also indicated that 44% of workplace attacks were committed by customers or clients (Workplace Statistics, 2000, p.1). When dealing with Type II violence, assaults by a customer of an organization often involve injuries leading to the following employees: • • • • • Medical care providers Psychiatric care providers Alcohol and drug treatment providers Teachers and Administrators Other customer service workers
(Workplace Violence- Sentry, 2001) On December 29, 1994, in Sacramento, California, a foster parent called the agency because he wanted his foster children removed from his house due to the all stresses he was having; he lost his job and had two other injuries to worry about. He called two times when a social worker finally was sent out. When she arrived, he shot her three times, along with one foster child, and others were held hostage (Chavez, 1998).
Type III: Violence comes from within an organization. An example would be a postal worker gone ‘postal.’ An employee making threats, harassing, or bullying would fall into this category. Domestic violence would also fit into the Type III violence category (Stress and Workplace Violence, 2000). Northwestern Natural Life Insurance Company indicated that violent attacks in this category committed were from 20% coworkers, 7% bosses and 3% former employees (Workplace Violence Statistics, 2000, p.1). It is deplorable and unbelievable the amount of cases that fall under Type III violence. Let’s examine some Type III cases within only a ten year time span, this does not include anything prior or after, nor does it deal with violence in the educational setting: • • February 5, 2001 shooting at Navistar Engine Plant in Melrose, Illinois. December 26, 2000, Wakefield, Massachusetts, Michael Mc Dermott entered Edgewater Technology Inc and opens fire at employees. He was upset because of the Internal Revenue Service seizing a portion of his income for back taxes. • November 2, 1999, Honolulu, Hawaii, Bryan Uyesugi opened fire at Xerox, Corp. He killed 7 people. • March 6, 1998, Matthew Beck shots 4 lottery senior executives and then kills himself. • November 14, 1991, Royal Oak, Michigan Thomas Mcllvane kills 4 postal supervisors, wounds 5 other workers and then killed himself.
7 • June 18 1990, Jacksonville, Florida, James Pough kills 9 people and wound 4 others at a General Motors Acceptance Corporation. (CBS News, 2001, p.1-2)
According to the US Department of Justice, 1 in 4 workers are attacked, threatened or harassed each year. There are more than one million victims each year of physical work place violence (Grimme, 2000 p.2). The National Safe Workplace Institute projected that violence in the workplace costs American organizations over $4.3 billion dollars annually (Workplace Violence-Sentry, 2001). That statistical information is only based on American organizations cost, one can only imagine what the entire cost would be internationally? The U.S Department of Justice Statistics in July of 1994 stated, “Those victims due to assaults occurring in the workplace costs about a half million employees 1,751,100 days of work each year, an average of 3.5 days per crime. This missed work resulted in over $55,000,000 in lost wages annually, not including days covered by sick and annual leave” (Workplace Violence Statistics, 2000, p.1).
Coincidentally, many employees and victims of violence are not just settling, closing the door or excusing the violence in the workplace. Corporations are losing revenue, being boycotted, losing considerable amounts of potential talented staff and being left with a
8 ill-stigmata. “Victims of school shootings are also turning to courts and bringing civil suits against the perpetrators families, gun manufactures, …”( Frontline, “The Killer at Thurston High,” 2000, p.1) While other corporations, JC Penney’s were sued in 1996 and paid over $1 million dollars for perpetuating a racially hostile working environment” (Velasquez, 2001 p. 4). What is the leading cause for this increase of violence at work? Perhaps it may be related to what is happening in the fluctuating market place. During these times of corporate downsizing, US competition is causing corporations to leave the US for cheaper labor; corporations are merging, jobs are being lost, one may be turned down for a promotion. One may constantly live their life in fear of loosing their job at ay moment when they have a family to feed; some are going through divorce and even deaths in their families.
In San Diego, a laid off employee shot and killed a vice president, then killed a manager who tried to intervene.
In Vermont, an employee dissatisfied with her job, tried to set the organization on fire and killed the manager and wounded 2 others.
While in Louisville, a disabled employee killed 8 employees, wounded 12 then took his own life (Workplace Violence- Sentry, 2001).
9 In 1990, a study conducted on stress identified 3 types of stressors leading to potential violence in the workplace:
Environmental stressors: They are physical and stressful conditions placed on the person while at work. An example the study used was that of EMT workers. An EMT may have to go get a victim who was just shot out of a high crime/gang area. The EMT may build up stress and explode.
Psychosocial stressors: They are produced as a result of interaction with others in the organization or members outside the organization such as a hostile customer. Harassment is also a psychosocial stressor. Harassment will be addressed at a later time.
Personality stressors: They come from within the person (Stress and Workplace Violence, 2000). In a town in Florida, Jesus Tamayo, 64, was a postal worker.
He was working alone when his former wife entered the post office. He left to go to his car; he returned with a gun and shot his former wife, Manuela Acosta and her roommate. He later shot himself (Satore Townships, 2000).
10 These are only a mere fraction of the reasons as to why people commit workplace violence; these are not the only precursors to what causes someone to trigger a violent reaction. One wonders if it may be in relationship to how people are able to handle stress when it comes to dealing with tough situations in the workplace. The fact of the matter is some people can handle stress, while others reach their peek and are pushed over the edge. Why people resort to violence and others do not is still truly a mystery; no one really knows. Sadly enough, we experience violence because many people are not trained in how to deal with human emotions and their stress level factors properly. Harassment can be very stressful. Usually the perpetrator of harassment is identified as a bully. Many of us have had some experiences with a bully during sometime in their life. The bully is one who desires to have something and will do what ever it takes to get it. Their motivation lies in their quest. Bullies often call their victims names, start rumors about them, causing their victims to be ridiculed and excluded from their peers. Types of bullying in the workplace can be physical, verbal, emotional and sexual. When people are bullied they feel terrorized by their perpetrator and become victimized. Victims harassed by a bully often feel helpless, depressed or feel isolated. Many victims feel they have lost control over their lives and do not know what to do. “Approximately, 15% of students are either bullied regularly or are bullies themselves. (15% equates to about 5 million elementary and middle-schoolers).”(USDE: Prevention,
11 1999, p.1). Bullies tend to get what they want and often get away with their intimidations. There is evidence today that bullies are: • 6 times more likely by the age of 8 to be convicted of a crime before the age of 24 if they don’t get help. • By the time they are 30, they are more likely to have serious criminal records. They grow up to be chronic bullies • Bullies often come from homes where parents use physical punishment to solve problems” (USDE: Prevention, 1999).
Many people feel bullies have a low self-esteem and insecure; when in fact the opposite is true. It is their victims who have a low self-esteem and are insecure. Bullies can pick up on their prey’s insecurities and use it against them. If harassed victims continue to be harassed, they will be left in a constant state of mind of feeling helpless and powerless. These victims may fight back; thus, repeating the cycle-leading to more violence and often worse. The senseless school shootings have mainly existed because the perpetrators were being harassed or bullied by students. A 15 year old student from Columbine told reporters, “Many of the athletes (at Columbine) or within this group shoved and threw rocks and bottles at Klebold and Harris; they taunted them with verbal assaults, that no individual would wan to endure” (Grimme, 2000 p.2). Another example of workplace violence caused by bullying can also be seen in
12 the case of an ex- Los Angeles Police Department Officer. Rafael Perez, a former police officer, was caught stealing millions of dollars. He bullied civilians around using his authority to get what he wanted. “Perez declared that he bogged arrests, perjured testimony, and planted ‘drop guns’ on unnamed civilians…”(Boyer, 2001, p.1). The LA Times called Perez’s confession and his actions, “The worst corruption scandal in LAPD history” (Boyer, 2001, p.1). Other classifications of perpetrators are called the striker and the erupter. The striker is someone who looses their temper because he or she received a traffic ticket or some type of punishment for breaking a rule. Perhaps it may have been a student’s parents yelling at a teacher because their daughter received an F on their report card. While an erupter is the least understood of all perpetrators; this is the person who becomes known as a person who commits ‘road rage’ (Reports on Harassment). Harassment is a senseless violence act that can take place in the workplace in the form of a sexual nature as well. Currently, the Mayor of Milwaukee is being sued for sexual harassment from a former employee whom he admitted to having a sexual relationship with. Yet, sexual violence can also lead to unwilling sexual acted were the victim is forced to comply. Several national studies have indicated that 40%-80% of women who have suffered from some form of sexual harassment during the course of their working lives” (Workplace Violence-How, 2001, p.1). The mystery is still out on the infamous intern last scene Washington DC; did Chandra Levy have an affair with the Congressmen Condit? Did he truly have something to do with her disappearance?
In an article called, “Workplace Violence: Work at Home Risks,” the author, Kevin Jones discussed the case of Nicole Paterson, who was stabbed to death by Peter Dupas in her home in April, 1999. “She was a psychotherapist consulting out of her home. Mr. Dupas posed as a new client under a different alias. A friend discovered her semi-naked, mutilated body on the floor. The perpetrator had a violent rap sheet and several sexual offenses dating back to 1974” (Jones, 2000). Domestic violence does not just stop at the victim’s home. It tends to flow inadvertently into the workplace; placing not only the victim at risk, but may also endanger other employees as well. Case in point, on October 7, 1997, Charles White opened fire in a San Antonio paging company where his ex-girlfriend worked. He mortally killed his ex-girlfriend, and then turned the gun on himself (Satore Township, 2000, p.4). • • About 1 million women are victims of violent crimes at work every year. Women are about 6 times more likely then men to experience violence caused by someone they know such as their spouse or boyfriend, or from their ex-spouse or ex-boyfriend. • • Men are more likely to be attacked by a stranger. 5% of women at work from 1987-1992 were victimized at work by their spouse or boyfriend or ex- spouse or ex-boyfriend.
14 • 1% of men at work from 1987-1992 were victimized at work by their spouse or girlfriend or ex- spouse or ex-girlfriend.
Between 1992-1994, 17% of women were attacked by their spouse or boyfriend or ex-spouse or ex-boyfriend
(US Department of Labor: Facts on Working Women, 1996).
Many domestic violence victims have work related problems flowing from their physical situation. Many miss work, are late to work, can’t function emotionally, and their performance suffers. They are often reprimanded or fired. Some perpetrators will not even allow their victims to even work or leave their homes (US Department of Labor: Facts on Working Women, 1996).
Most often, the perpetrators give off warning signs in some shape or form prior to committing the violent act. Sadly, it is often disregarded or dismissed by members of their family or co-workers and forgotten about. Patrick Shirill, a postal carrier, August of 1986, appallingly murdered 14 postal employees and himself. Shirill was reportedly asked to see his supervisor and a possible termination of employment was feared. Employees claimed, “Shirill was often angry and was frequently depressed” (Facts About Violence, 2000 p.2).
15 Let’s once again examine the rash of school shootings. Do these students seem to have similar profiles? Many were victims of bully harassment. However, authorities can’t seem to pinpoint a specific profile of these school shooters. They have been white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and from public and Christian schools. Some have had mental illness and some were depressed. Some were from good homes, others not. They all seemed to have seriously thought about their vengeance and plotted a plan. Until most recently, March, 2001 they all shared one characteristic in common; they were all males. But the plot thickens, so now there has been a female perpetrator. Researchers will have to go back and re-examine the data and try to reconfigure statistical information and perhaps try to arrive at new ‘universal’ profile (Dedman, October 15, 2000). In the meantime, like other victims, these students perhaps snapped because the system failed to recognize their urgency in the matter. These students all cried out for help, but no one listened. Klebold and Harris left numerous amounts of warning signs. Many wrote them off as joking around; they felt they had no where else to turn and had to take drastic measures in their own hands (USDE: Bullying Prevention, 1999). Many students’ experiences are horrific. They watched day in and day out, bullies getting away with the harassment. In many of these cases, these students have passed their breaking point and their point of no return. However, they too did leave warning signs often by telling their friends. The Secret Service’s studies have discovered that many, “Attackers
16 often tell their friends, directly or obliquely, what they are planning. But rarely do those friends tell an adult” (Dedman, October 16, 2000 p.1). When Evan Ramsey killed the principal and another student in Bethel, Alaska, a crowd was gathered to watch from the library balcony. Ramsey reportedly stated, “I’d called three people and asked them to go up to the library…Two boys told one boy’s sister what was going to happen, and I guess she called some of her friends, and eventually there was something like two dozen people up there in the library” (Dedman, 2000,p.1). Some of the warning signs Barry Loukaitis of Moses Lake, Washington did was that he began asking his friends how to get ammunition. He complained to his mother of teasing and teachers never responded. He had asked his mother for a long coat and she took him to several stores to purchase one. Loukaitis also discussed his intentions with his friends. One of his friends knew of his deadly intentions for over a year and just shrugged it off, even when he saw Loukaitis’s sawed off shot gun. His friend stated, “He said it’d be cool to kill people. He said he could probably get away with it” (Dedman, October 16, 2000, p.2). However, another indisputable tragedy is clear: Charles Williams told at least one adult and three students of his intent and yet, nothing was done to prevent it. How long will peoples' consciences let them remain silent? These people all had a foreshadowing of
17 the boy's vicious plot, but they quickly dismissed it after he said he was only joking. This apathy cost two students their lives and hundreds of students and parents their peace of mind. As of the year 2001, there have been over 41 school shootings dating back to 1974 with over 44 perpetrators from 1974 to 2001 (Dedman, October 15, 2000). Let’s take a moment and reflect on the numerous tragic school shootings just since 1996: • March, 2001-El Cajon, California. Granite Hills High School, no one killed, perpetrator wounded. • March, 2001 Williamsport, Pennsylvania, 14 year old girl wounded another 14 year old female in a Roman Catholic School. • March, 2001- Santee, California, Santana High School, Charles Andrew Williams, 15 years old killed 2 and 13 wounded others. • February, 2000- Mount Morris Township, Michigan, 1st grader shot and mortally wounded another student who was 6 years old. • May, 1999- Conyers, Georgia- One month after Columbine, 15 year old wounded 6 classmates and then surrendered. • April, 1999- Littleton, Colorado, Harris and Klebold heavily armed, violently entered Columbine High School and gruesomely murdered 15 people, including themselves and wounded 28 other people. • March, 1998 Jonesboro, Arkansas, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden kill 5 and wounded 10 others. Workplace Violence
18 • April, 1998 Edinboro, Pennsylvania, 14 year old Andrew Wurst killed his science teacher. • May, 1998 Springfield, Oregon, Kipland Kinkel killed 2 students, wounding 19 others and killing his parents. • May 1998 Fayette, Tennessee, Jacob Davis kills his ex-girlfriend in school’s parking lot. • • June, 1998 Richmond, Virginia, Quinshawn Booker wounded 2. December, 1997 West Paducah, 14 year old Michael Carneal killed 3 students and wounded 5 others. • October, 1997, Pearl, Mississippi, 16 year old Luke Woodham kills his mother, Kills 2 (including his ex-girlfriend) and wounded 7 others. • • 1997, Bethel, Alaska, 16 year old Evan Ramsey kills 2. February, 1996 Moses Lake, Washington, 14 year old Barry Loukaitis kills 3 and wounded 1. (USDE: Bullying Preventing:, 1999 and Juvenile Violence Time Line, 2000).
“Experience has taught us that 85% of workplace violence incidents had clear warning signs” (Chavez, 1998, p.2). What are the warning signs aggressors of violence exhibit? Many research experts on violence warn against issuing one-size fits all plan that many agencies have recently complied in the cases of school violence. Many say that warning signs should only give one a cause for heightening an awareness and sensitivity,
or people displaying signs of aggression. They want people to know that people may have and display these warning signs but will NOT resort to violence. Some profiled warning signs may include but not limited too: • • • Previous history of violence with women, children or animals Loner or withdrawn Emotional problems, substance abuse, depression, low-self-esteem (questionable in some cases) • • • Frustrated easily Displays antagonistic relationship with others Types of obsession: weapons, acts of violence, romantic or sexual, political, religious, racial, job, neatness or order • • • • • Poor morale Increased absenteeism Angry outburst Ominous threats Defensive
On November 14, 1991, in Royal Oaks, Michigan, Thomas Mc Ilvane a former postal carrier killed 5 people, shot and wounded 9 others. What was sadly paradoxical in this
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case was the fact that Mc Ilvane had previously made threats to several individuals. Many people such as other employees, supervisors and union officials had witnesses these threats (Chavez, 1998). The most recent case of the perpetrator giving off warning signs and being ignored happened not in the US, but in Ikeda, Japan on Friday, June 8th, 2001. Mamoru Takuma was allegedly on a suicidal mission. He carried a knife into a local elementary school where he cold heartily murdered 2 children at school; 6 others later died in the hospital; 15 others (13 children and 2 teachers) were injures. At the time of the report, 8 remained in serious condition (Yahoo News, 2001). Takuma reportedly told the authorities that he was, “sick of everything and wanted to be caught and executed” (Yahoo News, 2001). Police reported that Takuma worked as a janitor in an elementary school in a city near by. Sadly enough, in March, 1999, Takuma previously attempted another plot, where he spiked teacher’s tea with tranquiller. He was never charged because he suffered from psycho-problems. Yet, he continued to work at the school, having access to teachers and children. One must wonder where the logic was behind continuing to keep Mr. Takuma employed as a janitor at an elementary school. If this were your child or spouse working at these schools, how would you feel? What is an acceptable resolution to this tragic random act of violence? It is obvious that Takuma recent out break of violence could have been prevented if authorities would have acted appropriately the first time. One could argue, that was another country and a different
21 Workplace Violence
value system. But the outcome is often the same regardless where these violent acts take place. If one person dies at the hands of a perpetrator in any place, nationally or internationally that could have been prevented if someone listened and was trained to look for the early warning signs that is one to many. How do we begin to stop workplace violence? The bottom-line is to empowered people to take control over what happens to them and their surroundings. Everyone has fears, doubts and uncertainties when they become subjected to aggression on a daily basis. It is how we learn to control ourselves when we are faced with these difficult situations. We can either become empowered to solve our problems or become a victim of an aggressor. Every person has the right not to be physically harmed; it’s up to us and organizations to provide a safe environment. Organizations need to set protocols and enforced them. People need to be trained on pertinent safety issues. Organizations and institutions can implement codes of conduct and demand the highest standards from their employees. Schools as well can heighten their codes of behavior expectations to the highest level for all of their students, teachers, administrator and parents. Healthcare Industries already have established a set of specific criteria when dealing with patients that need to be restraint due to physical intervention. The DFEE also has issued advice for educators on how to control students if force is needed (DFEE Circular 10.98) (Workplace Violence-How. 2001).
22 Workplace Violence
When people are not trained in emergency situations violent assaults can be carried out on a more drastic level. For instance, prior to the violent act committed in Santee, California at Santana High School, the Administration implemented an emergency plan in conjunction with the city, after the Columbine tragedy. They provided training to their staff for these types of situations. Although students were murdered and injured, the situation could have been worse if an emergency plan was not enforced. There is a program called School Threat Assessment and Response System (STARS). This is a multidisciplinary approach in preventing by involving school administrators, staff, police and independent experts to work cooperatively to respond quickly to threats and other issues pertaining to school safety. Since its first year, STARS had responded to 15 incidents. They have been able to successfully diffuse hostile situations and still maintain schools opened (Doherty, 2001). “The seriousness of outcomes can be significantly reduced through the recognition of the risks, thoughtful planning and implementation of protocols” (Workplace Violence-How, 2001). School violence prevention and awareness is working, school violence as a whole has decreased in the 1990’s; it is the rare school shootings that have increased. What seems to be the current issue is that in the school environments authorities and administration, et al, have been working collaboratively to find a solution in aiding in prevention. However, the opposite is true when dealing with other organizations. Organizations are only reporting 44% of workplace crimes and violence to the police (Doherty, 2001).
23 Workplace Violence
Chief Doherty of the Wakefield Police Department stated, “When workplace violence erupts, you cannot form a committee or ask for requests for proposals or solicit the low bidder…Early recognition of behaviors that may lead to acts of violence prior to their commission the goal. The major challenge…is to establish communication and partnerships with those managers willing to demonstrate their commitment to a safe environment. (Doherty, 2001, p.3)”
Safety plans can be created without spending enormous amounts of money. They can be as simple as thoroughly checking the history of the possible candidate before hiring; it can prevent unwanted potential violent workers even from entering an organization. In 1993, Mark O’Barton’s wife and mother–in-law were murdered. He was the number on suspect. O’Barton reportedly received an excessive amount of money in an insurance claim for his wife’s death. No charges were ever filed in this. The judge ordered Barton to get a psychological evaluation in order to get custody of his children. If the Atlanta investment company who hired him afterwards would have conducted a thorough background check, perhaps 9 other employees from an Atlanta investment firm’s deaths could have been saved. Perchance, his second wife and 2 children may also have been saved as well. At the time of the recent murders, he was in desperate need of money with the investment firm (Satore Township, 2001 p. 13) On February 12, 1996, in Sacramento, California, Phouc Bui was previously fired from Packard Bell Assembly Plant. He returned, held an employee at gunpoint and fired
24 Workplace Violence
over 60 rounds of ammunition before he was wounded. No one was injured physically, but emotionally scared. Ironically in this case, was that’s he was fired for passing out copies of an article on workplace violence. A witness of the shooting happened to be the perpetrator’s former employer and stated Bui was let go for odd behavior (Chavez, 1998). Some other things that can be done to effectively minimize violence in the workplace are: • • • Placing surveillance cameras around the workplace Hire security guards Limit access to buildings during business hours, have people were badges and check in. • • Have emergency drills Allow members of the organization to have access to Employee Assistance Services (EAS) • • • • • • Provide Diversity training Screen potential employees thoroughly Report all threats of violence and take all of them seriously Create an environment of respect Have an open-door policy of management Provide job counseling for employees who are terminated
(Workplace Violence-How Employers Benefit, 2001).
Workplace Violence Unions can also have an impact in combating workplace violence. Unions can negotiate on behalf of employees for programs such as Employee Assistance Services, paid legal services and paid time-off for family emergencies (Facts on Working Women, US Dept. Labor: Women’s Bureau, 1996). Some organizations have already begun to implement proactive initiatives for combating workplace violence: • In 1991, Liz Claiborne initiated a public service campaign called,” Women’s Work.” Its goal was to heighten the awareness of domestic violence and the workplace. They also implemented a strong employee Assistance Program, as well as sponsor family stress seminars during business hours.
In 1994, Polaroid Corporation began training managers and supervisors to provide a protocol for employers to battle family violence and provides shelter with services with corporate financial sponsorship.
Schools are hiring counselors and implementing Student Support Services. (Facts on Working Women, US Dept. Labor: Women’s Bureau, 1996).
Organizations are also spending money by heightening awareness through education initiatives. They are educating and empowering managers and employees in
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Conflict Management Skills and Techniques. Conflict Management is an excellent way to provide employees the skills they need to resolve conflict peacefully. These types of programs allow people to regain trust once lost, by teaching effective listening and communication skills need to interact peacefully within an organization. Many other skills can be gained from this program. Conflict management allows employees involved in conflict to focus on the issues at hand. Employers learn to provide a neutral common ground to defuse conflicts. Once again there is a bottom-line which is conflict management educational programs can help employees develop conflict resolutions skills so they can learn to deal with aggressors in a non-violent way. Ideally, the skills learned and gained from conflict resolution can possibly effect communication not only in the workplace, but also at home (Sarkus, 2000). Every adult has a personal ante in preventing violence from spreading even further. Tipper Gore stated after Columbine’s tragedy, “If we are serious about stopping violence…we as adults need to erase to stigma that prevents us from getting help…” (Grimme, 2000 p.2). We all must find a way to save the next generation; we must search our hearts and souls to provide a positive, respectful environment so every man, woman and child can flourish. People are crying out for help-what are you doing about it? Only you can decide!
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CBS News. Major Workplace Shootings. February 5, 2001. [Online] Available: http://www.cbsnews.com/now/story/01597259754-41200shtml Chavez, Larry. What Organizations and Individuals Have Done to Invite Workplace Violence. January,1998. [Online] Available: http://email@example.com/endwpv/invite.html Diversity-Quest: Competencies. [Online] Available: http://www.divesity.quest.com Dedman, Bill. Deadly Lessons: School Shooters Tell Why.[Online] Available: http://www.suntimes.com/shoot/ Dedman, Bill. Deadly Lessons: Examining the Psyche of an Adolescent Killer. October 15, 2000. [Online] Available: http://www.suntimes.com/shoot15htm/ Dedman, Bill. Shooters Usually Tell Friends What They Are Planning. October 16, 2000. [Online] Available: http://www.suntimes.com/shoot16html/ Doherty, Stephen. Chief. School, Workplace Shootings Spur Police Strategy/Police Department. Wakefield Police Department. April 29, 2001. [Online] Available: http://www.wakefield@org/herald-doherty-april29-2001htm Facts About Violence. Some Other US Workplace Shootings. 2000 [Online] Available: http:hiwaay.net/~dgs/workplace.html
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Frontline: The Killer at Thurston High. ‘Profiling’ School Shooters. [Online] Available: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontilne/shows/kinkel/profile Geller, Scott. Surveying Behavior Based Safety Experiences. May 19, 2000 [Online] Available: http://isbn.comCDA/ArticleInformation/BehavioralSafety/03563320000html Gottschalk, Amy. Workplace Violence-Are You in Danger? 2001.[Online] Available: http://www.diversitydtg.com/ Grimme, Don and Grimme, Sheryl. Curbing Violence in the Workplace, Big Lessons from a little town and The Cause of Youth Violence. 2000. GHR Training Solutions: Available through email: firstname.lastname@example.org Jones, Kevin. Workplace Violence: Work at Home Risks. [Online] Available: http://www.boxplanet.comau/wab/articles/operations/safetyhtm Juvenile Violence Time Line. [Online] Available: www.wahingtonpost.com/wpsrv/national/longterm/invmurders/timelinehtm. Norris, Brian. Conquering Negativity in the Workplace. [Online] Available: Expert@briannorris.com O’Brien, Daniel. Safety Training for New Employees. April 4, 2000. [Online] Available: http://isbn.comCDA/ArticleInformation/BehavioralSafety/03563173400html Reports on Harassments/Workplace Violence. [Online] Available: http://www.spuedu/dents/hr/supervisor/safety/reportsofharassmenthtml
29 Workplace Violence References
Satore Township-Workplace Violence Incidents. 2000. [Online] Available: www.syn.net/mikekell//collectionhtml . Sarkus, David. How to Defuse Conflict at Work. April 11, 2000. [Online] Available: http://isbn.comCDA/ArticleInformation/BehavioralSafety/0356109600html Stabbings In Japan in Recent Years. June 8, 2001. [Online] Available: Yahoo News http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/up/20010608/wl/japanstabbingsglanceshtml Stress and Workplace Violence Episodes. 2000.[Online] Available: http://www.emsviol/intro.htm US Department of Labor Women’s Bureau. “Facts on Working Women.’ Winter, 1999. No. 4. [Online] Available: http://www.safetyzone.org/publications/fact4articlehtml USDE: Bullying Prevention Manuel. Preventing Bullying- A Manuel for Schools and Communities. November 3. 1998. [Online] Available: http://www.cde.cagov/spbranch/ssp/bullyingmanualhtm Veazie, Bob Putting Tension to Work. May 24, 2000. [Online] Available:http://www.isbp.com/CDA/Article035632400html Velasquez, Mauricio. The National Litigious Environment. 2000, [Online] Available: http://www.diversitydtg.com/ Workplace Violence-How Employers Benefit. 2001.[Online] Available: http://wwwaegis-training.com/links/uncontrolledviolencehtm
Workplace Violence References
Workplace Violence Statistics. 2000. [Online] Available: http://email@example.com/endwpv/statistics.html Workplace Violence-Sentry Insurance Safety Tips. 2001. [Online] Available: http://www.sentry.com/workplace.violence.html
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