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Can you spot workplace violence indicators?

Question: Do these scenarios indicate potential workplace violence?

Scenario 1: A current employee has been exhibiting a notable increase in workplace arguments and a decline in acceptable hygiene habits. Some staff members have also reported that they have seen the employee searching for weapons online during company time.

Scenario 2: A new employee just started who is exhibiting antisocial behavior. She does not eat lunch with the other employees, does not attend any of the popular workplace amenities like the gym, and generally only speaks to others when spoken to first.

Scenario 3: You recently had to let go 15 employees due to company downsizing. One particular employee said he felt “wronged” by the incident and made a scene before leaving his work desk by throwing his chair, keyboard, and other office supplies onto the floor. Later that night, he posted ominous updates on social media saying that those who have wronged him will pay.

Click below to see answers.

Can you spot workplace violence indicators?: Answers

  1. Answer: Yes. While an employee who bullies, intimidates, or threatens coworkers should definitely be reported to the employer, other actions can also indicate that an individual may become violent. Other warning signs may include:
    1. A notable increase in frustration or picking fights,
    2. An obsession with weapons,
    3. A decline in health or hygiene habits,
    4. An increase in alcohol or drug use, or
    5. Signs of suicidal thoughts or depression.
  2. Answer: No. This employee is not aggressive, seeking vengeance, or hinting to any violent behavior within the workplace. Her behavior does not indicate workplace violence.
  3. Answer: Yes. Active shooters typically have an “avenger mindset,” often believing they are fighting back against an injustice, either real or perceived, that has happened to them or someone they know. This feeling of having been wronged or treated unfairly can be triggered by stressors in their personal life (financial, legal, or relationship problems; drug or alcohol abuse; mental or physical ailments) or in the workplace (job loss, suspension, unequal or unfair treatment, harassment). Many active shooters exhibit warning signs or give hints of their intentions to others in person or through social media.