Perry 1

Patricia Perry

Professor Cheryl Zelle

MBA 535 Term Paper

02 February 2011

Escalating Violence in the Workplace

The global economic situation is spiraling downwards out of control and is causing tensions at home and at the workplace. Consequently, workplace violence is escalating. In 2009 there were 521 workplace killings, 420 were with handguns (Rosen). There are signals that people give who commit violence in the workplace. Human Resource Professionals are burdened with the task of conducting pre-employment background screenings that identify individuals who are prone to violent behavior. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OHSA) is the government agency that has been put in place to make sure companies abide by safety and healthcare programs to protect Americans. In light of so much violence and litigation, focus is on the solutions for the problems.

In an article titled, ³Alleged Reasons for Workplace Violence,´ Chris Joseph names five causes: stress, conflict, insufficient training, termination and lack of advancement. Stress is a condition caused by people being overworked, constantly bombarded with news of layoffs, unreasonable supervisors and problems at home. The combination or pressure from one or more

medical insurance and accidents on the job.Perry 2 of these problems can cause psychological damage. The title of the book is intriguing. A survey conducted in 2007 showed that Americans work more hours than all other industrialized nations. This stress is causing sickness. ³Bad Bosses. ³"This can lead to violent outbursts" (Joseph). Conflicts between people of different backgrounds and beliefs. at the same time puts the burden . mentally and physically (Bernardin 496). individuals not coming to work. Preventing Violence at Work. Loss of productivity.´ is the title for one of a book written by Vicky Oliver. on a daily basis takes its toll on workers. ³Stressing out´ leads to violence in the workplace (Bernardin 497). The clashing of different personalities and the unhealthy ways in which individuals problem solve cause some people to lash out with brutal force (Joseph). Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots. It is estimated that 1. The book is comical in nature about a very serious subject and should be recommended reading for HR Personnel. Homicide is the second leading cause of fatal workplace injury in the United States (Bernardin 490). The cost of this dilemma is costing companies $200 million annually. She is said to have helped over 5. He admits that it is next to impossible for someone to prevent unsavory behavior but.9 million incidences of workplace violence occurs each year by employees and ex-employees.000 people with 201 ways to combat intimidating situations. Ross Arrowsmith has a daily post and started the program.

a trouble maker. Arrowsmith also cautions that too much information (TMI) may be found and should not be used for hiring preferences (such as information regarding disabled status). one with little interests outside of work. This information might indicate whether individuals are a threat. they may express extreme desperation. a weapon owner. The fact is. A profile has been developed describing the characteristics of perpetrators of violent crimes such as persons who have a history of violence.Perry 3 back on Human Resources.´ Leading questions that might indicate how a person would respond in certain situations such as how a person may have reacted in the past may offer insights to the personality of an applicant. and individuals who make threats and disobey company policies and/or sabotage equipment or property (491). saying that they have to ³hire the right people. Characteristics include people who overreact to changes. ones who feel that they are not heard by the company.´ Arrowsmith contends that there are plenty of ways to gather information on individuals with the internet and new investigative technology. individuals who are paranoid or anti-social. injustice or malice in others. and one who perceives unfairness. It advised employers and HR personnel to be aware of people who talk about weaponry. have a history of aggression and are loners who .´ writes about one hundred murders in a New York Times article which also gave several other insights to these troubled souls. ³Dealing with Workplace Violence. one who abuses drugs. a stable person with no violence in his or her background may experience stress at home and workplace pressures that could ³push them over the edge. There are hundreds of books on the subject of workplace violence and should be recommended to HR and supervisors. a person recently fired. Haig Neville.

This would be the ultimate insult. Lack of advancement in employment is another way that employees experience frustration. . the murderers gave multiple signs before they committed the crimes (Heathfield). in confidence. According to the survey. How many times has someone related the story that someone ³outside´ the organization or a person with less knowledge was hired and they had to teach them the job in addition to educating about the organizations¶ culture? A lot of times the person. Training of supervisors and administrative personnel regarding conflict management is greatly needed.Perry 4 do not fit in with the group. newly trained will want to rid the trainer of their post once they have secured the job. HRM will need to initiate classes that teach conflict resolution and make it mandatory that all employees (especially managers and supervisors) attend. Lack of training for employees to recognize when situations may become dangerous is prevalent. Terminations of workers who believe that they have been treated unfairly are powder kegs just waiting to be ignited. It might be dangerous for employees to be ³outed´ as a whistle blower or tattle tale. Options must be given to these individuals so they know that their side of the story will be heard by neutral parties. Counseling programs should be made available to these individuals so they are made aware of and possibly change attitudes and behaviors that may hamper employment in the future. Employees need to be aware of threatening behaviors of fellow staff members and bring it to the attention of the Human Resources department and supervisory personnel.

Perry 5 Employers must protect employees from danger according to OSHA¶s ³general duty clause. banks. which would include customers and employees. and even the Mom and Pop corner shops are now employing Security Guards at an all time high. on the employer¶s property (Bernardin 490). but people with criminal intent would not.´ This has become increasingly hard to do with 40 states now allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons. the focus has been on employees who commit vicious crimes at worksites. It should be spelled out in procedure manuals that the policy of the company does not allow armaments of any kind in the workplace. Banks. retail businesses. The public should vote for legislation that would prohibit deadly weapons of any kind at the worksite. Having several door size models for a wide space (adding 3 or 4) would make the cost extremely steep for big businesses also. One wonders why businesses do not invest in the walk thru metal detectors. retail establishments that are open nights and social security offices are the most apt to be victims of workplace violence. Kentucky and Louisiana that forbid employers from disallowing employees to have legally owned weapons in their vehicles.000 which is astronomical in most small business circles. These statistics are probably because of non-associates of the businesses committing the crimes. The costs range from $3. For this paper. This is made complicated by laws such as the ones in Florida. . The sad fact is that upstanding citizens would obey the law. Government offices. its catch-22. grocery stores.000 to $6. Self defense classes have been mentioned as program to be made available to employees to make them feel safer (493). Therein lies the problem. Georgia.

Perry 6 http://www. she left. A female professor who was denied tenure at the University of Alabama killed 3 fellow staff members and wounded 3 others in February 2010. Females are feeling pressure and committing more workplace violent crimes. instead he killed 3 people and then himself in January 2010. In September 2010 a woman killed fellow co-workers in a Bakery Plant in Philadelphia. Sure.walk-through-metal-detector. New characteristics of perpetrators will be created. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports incidences such as the man in Missouri who made allegations in a lawsuit against the company he worked for. they can hire quality personnel. harassment and threatening actions that may be going came back and sadly killed the employee she threatened in March 2010. A female was fired from a supermarket after threatening to kill a co-worker. HR personnel are shouldering a lot of responsibility. Policies declaring ³zero tolerance´ for primary or secondary violence must be .htm?gclid=CKHMopXb7aYCFcG77QodgU6rFA OSHA describes workplace violence as an action as small as a verbal assault to the ultimate transgression of murder. The U.S. but cannot control the day to day bullying. he did not wait on the verdict. Half of Emergency Room Nurses report being assaulted (Rosen). In August of 2010 the Army presented new policies regarding workplace violence in the aftermath of the psychiatrist that killed 13 and wounded 32 others (November 2009).

A more proactive lead should be taken regarding training and employment assistance programs (EAP¶s) to ward off employee violence. surveillance cameras. Safe places to report incidences (neutral parties) must be options for witnesses and victims (493). arranging furniture for camouflage. the most cost comes from the loss of valued employees. such as having police checks. All fingers seem to point to them when something happens. The astronomical costs for companies directly related to violence in the workplace are in the millions. They are writing citations for violations of health and safety rules (miners killed in accidents). In this time of violence and litigations it does not appear to be a good time for HR Professionals. However. Bernardin also made great suggestions regarding security. . limited access to employee areas and most importantly reporting perceived threats. These actions are usually after the fact. co-workers.Perry 7 reiterated (frequently) to all employees which includes directors. It is the time for them to be involved in the strategic planning of the organizations. supervisors. outside vendors and customers. OSHA is busy writing fines and penalties for hospital employees who are being injured by patients (psychiatric/disgruntled).

Web.Perry 8 Works Cited Bernardin. 4 Feb. Web. Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots. 2010. NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. <http://workplaceviolencenews. 03 Feb." Workplace Violence News. 05 Feb. Human Resource Management: an Experiential Approach. "EMPLOYMENT SCREENING RESOURCES (ESR) NEWS » ESR Background Screening Trend 7 for 2011: More Workplace Violence Prevention Education Helps Protect Employers and Employees. Lester. 16 2011.html>. 23 Aug. New York.about. . 2011. <http://humanresources. 2011. "Keeping Violence Out of the Work Environment. <http://www. Heathfield. Oatman." Workplace Violence News. 5th ed. Web." EHow | How To Do Just About Everything! | How To Videos & Articles." Human Resources Business Management Development Jobs Consulting Training Policy Human Resources. H." Pre-Employment Screening. "Bad Bosses. Vicky. 05 Feb. Chris. 2010. 2011. m>.com/books/books-2010/books2008/bad-bosses-crazy-coworkers-other-office-idiots/>. 04 Feb. 2010. Oliver. <http://workplaceviolencenews. 02>. Web.ehow. Employment Screening. Rosen. Print. "Workplace Violence: Violence Can Happen Here. Employee Screening & Criminal Background Checks. Robert L. Joseph. Susan M.. "Alleged Reasons for Workplace Violence | EHow. Web.

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