Our case study describes the worst possible outcome of an employee disagreement. Two employees, who had a history of not getting along, got into a fight, one was killed and the other was charged with second-degree murder. The surviving employee was known as a tough guy and both employees had been told that they were to learn to get along or quit. The police spokesperson stated that employers have to be more vigilant in looking for signs of potential workplace violence and the surviving spouse filed a lawsuit against the company for negligence.
1. What are some violence indicators an employee might display? Abnormal behavior that is intimidating to others or themselves is an indicator that should be monitored closely. Aggressive behavior towards others or uncontrolled emotional outbursts that include physical or non-physical reactions can be signs as well.
2. What are some actions management can take to help prevent workplace violence? The first line of defense for management that can help prevent workplace violence is in the selection process. To carefully examine the candidate, without overstepping EEOC laws, for having the potential for violent behavior in the workplace. The next step would be to have an employee assistance program in place to help employees that are in need of counseling. There is also a need to keep a pulse on the stability of the workforce and maintain an awareness of the day-to-day concerns that arise that could lead to violence.
3. How can employees protect themselves against workplace violence? Employees can protect themselves from violence by being observant of behaviors that could lead to violence. If they become aware of a situation they should not over react nor should they treat it lightly. They should move away from the situation and notify the proper internal or external authorities and warn coworkers to take action.
Key Learning One
Violence in the workplace can and will happen by both employees and non-employees. The reasons may not always be on the surface and may be counter intuitive to what we would expect. “Researchers have consistently found that it's generally not people with chronic mental illness who snap into acts of lethal violence. Rather, it's people who are experiencing major life crises”. (Hewitt, 2014) Culling the employees, with a potential for workplace violence, may not always be achieved through the selection process. There are life events that can push people past their limits of self-control and this is where an employee assistance program may be of help, if the employee is aware of the program and takes advantage of it. Workplace violence is not always limited to an employee; it can also happen from a patient, a customer, or a passerby. “According to Bureau of...