There are more and more headlines about violence in the workplace. Many of the violent acts committed in the work environment are related to job loss or serious clashes of personalities. Violence has erupted between co-workers or revenge has been acted out against management. This is not an issue that will go away and with the state of the nation’s economy and high unemployment rates, it is likely that violence on the job will continue to increase.
The recent shooting just outside the Empire State Building allegedly occurred because the gunman had been fired from his job due to downsizing measures at his workplace. While the shooter had lost his job a year before he took revenge, it did not stop him from hunting down his former boss and taking his life.
Employers who are not proactively monitoring potentially violent situations and who are not prepared for a crisis of an emotional or mental nature are putting their entire workplace in danger. Violence that erupts in disgruntled workers is often directed randomly at anyone in the vicinity. While many times people have an intended target such as the person who is perceived to have caused problems, it is often the innocent bystanders who suffer the consequences especially when guns are involved.
Preventing workplace violence is an important part of workers’ safety and employers have an obligation to provide a safe work environment for all workers. Violence is not the answer for everyone but those who are unable to cope with their personal situations at home or at work may take out their frustrations in a violent, even fatal way.