Violence In The Workplace Essay, Research Paper
A 16-year-old female restaurant employee is raped by her assistant manager. An old employee who was downsized shoots a 55-year-old engineer. Yearly 1 million Americans are victims of violence while working (Black, p2). Four American are murdered on the job everyday. Everyday millions of Americans leave their homes to began their workday, however some do not always return. The workplace is becoming a common ground for violence. ?The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that more than 2 million people each year become victims of violent crimes at work?, (Jarman 1). Thus, making the workplace homicide the fastest growing form of murder. Violence on the job can appear in many forms from simple harassment to personal attacks.
These episodes of violent acts are caused by many factors. However, everyone must be aware of the warning signs for violent acts. Employees have a responsibility to protect employees and be aware of the laws that regulate workplace violence. Workplace violence is a growing epidemic that can be prevented through taking the necessary precautions and knowing the warning signs.
The horrid face of violence can take on many forms in the workplace. The most common forms include physical attacks, rape, threats, abusive letters and phone calls. Other forms of violence include sexual harassment, threatening behavior, fighting, and murder. Contrary to popular belief work place violence can be inflicted by co-workers, and outsider that the victim knows, a completely unknown third party or even a customer. One of common examples of outsiders causing violent acts on the job site is domestic violence. The harassment continues at work for 74% of battered women, (Days 1). The domestic disputes do not stop at home and are brought into the job making domestic
violence a leading factor in workplace violence. These are all forms of violence in the workplace.
Everyone is at risk for workplace violence, however, some occupations are at higher risk than others. ?The single highest homicide rate is found around taxi drivers who run the risk of being robbed daily, but get very little media coverage when they are victimized (DeBare 1). Liquor stores and gas stations were rated next as being dangerous job sites. Also, the restaurant industry was recognized for being extremely dangerous. This is evident because restaurants are ideal for robbers due to the hours of operation. However, corporate America and other professional job arenas are not immune to workplace violence. More and more we are seeing disgruntled employees of large corporations come back to take revenge. In many cases secretaries are at the greatest risk because they sit at the front and is usually give the first person to deal with a customer. Other dangerous occupations include police officers, hospital, and hotel staff. Another dangerous career is teaching. With school violence on the increase, teachers are running the risk of becoming victims. Even in Scotland, teaching is listed as one of the most dangerous occupations, (Hannha) but is important to remember that no one is exempt from violent acts in the workplace. Violence can strike any employer, office building, or public facility. Women are often the main targets of violent acts on the job. Most sexual harassment issues or domestic disputes go unreported because many women fear being fired or labeled as a victim.
Although there is no justification for violent acts there are many elements that manifest them. A company?s own past or current employees commit most violent acts. A feeling of betrayal by management, workplace harassment, or downsizing can lead an employee to explode. Other problems include inadequate time to complete a job, lack of clear job description, unclear chain of command, and no reward for good job performance (Black 2). Also, violent acts can come into play because employees have no opportunity to voice complaints. Many employees feel as though management does not listen to their concerns. This is very evident in an organization. Moreover, employees become outraged due to gender, race, sex, and religion discrimination. Another reason for disgruntled employees is inadequate pay. There are many external elements that fuel the fire to workplace violence. A shift in cultural values, including more divorce, having children out of wedlock, single-parent homes, less self control and more self expression, coupled with an increasingly demanding corporate culture is a dangerous mix (Black 2). All of these reasons are internal and external elements that cause violent acts on the job.
In order to address workplace violence we must examine who is committing these violent acts. Characteristics of violent acts include a loner; normally they have a history of interpersonal relationships problems. Someone who has few or no friends or significant others may be a person who can commit violent acts on the job. This person may display aggressive behavior and attitudes. They blame others and have a problem accepting authority when asked to perform duties of the job. Violent aggressors are known to have prior assaults, arrests for violence and abuse problems.
This person identifies with their job, has a poor work history, and in most cases works in an organization. They are interested in weapons and have access to them. Alcohol and cigarettes are problems that surround violence in workplace.
There are many things that people and companies can do to protect themselves from violent crimes. ?Companies should have a pre plan strategy that includes an external response policy, interaction with public law enforcement, debriefing and counseling for
employees if there is an incident and a plan to deal with the media (Black 3). Many companies are providing personal safety training courses for their employees; at these session?s staff is trained on how to deal with another persons anger. They are made aware signs of workplace violence. Also, they are taught how to deal with disgruntled employees. Human resource professionals have to confront the possibility that their jobs may require dealing with violent individuals. Programs such as the Safe Range program teaches employees, managers, human resource officials and security personnel how to recognize and respond to violent situations (Given 2). For example, Microsoft, Norrison and Evergreen healthcare have taken advantage of free training to improve safety/awareness in their work environment. Employers must make their staff feel safe in their environment. They can do this by having security desks, or mechanisms to screen outsiders. Alarms, computer controlled security access units, and closed circuit television surveillance cameras should be installed. Employees who are being stalked by abusers or who have order of protection should make security personnel aware.
Bell Atlantic Mobile and the State Senate recently made used cellular phones available for free to abused women trying to keep safe from batterers who might pursue them to work or elsewhere (Johnston 1). Companies can develop a crisis team to be ready in the event of a violent act. Next, train employees in first aid, media control, death notification, and management of workers, families, and witnesses. Ensure that physiological support is made available from an employee assistance programs trauma response service. Panic buttons and escorts for employees should be installed; all of these items can help make workplaces safer. Employers are responsible for making the workplace a safe haven for employees. ?The Health and Safety work Act of 1974, states that employees have a duty to protect staff from danger so far as it is reasonably practicing. If an employee is assaulted or murdered at work the company can be sued if managers were aware of threats made and did nothing about the situation. Mental disabilities cause some employees to snap. ?The American with Disabilities Act protect person with mental disabilities but they do not harm and employee?s ability to discipline or terminate violent threatening employees, (Redfern 4). Under the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, employees have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace free of hazards or to cause harm or death. Potential victims may seek common law negligence for their injuries. Workplace violence has a heavy effect on companies and employers. Companies run the risk of litigation due to violent acts. Many companies spend millions of dollars on security measures to keep employees safe. For example, restaurants and food related industries spent more 6.5 million dollars on security (Bosner 2). Violence
causes worry for employees. In addition to day-to-day responsibilities employees have to be concerned about their lives in the job.
Keeping the workplace safe is a top propriety in companies today. Having the right training programs and equipment installed in a company keeps the work environment safe and employees are able to work effective and efficient. Violence is more common today than ever before in the workplace today, and effective measures have to be taken to keep employees safe. It is important for managers to look for certain behaviors that indicate if their employee is hostile and take precautions to avoid any
confrontations or violence in the workplace. As society we must all become aware of those people around us and become aware of the problems and situations they happens in the workplace and at home.