Workplace Violence is on the Rise

May 20, 2019


Workplace Violence is on the Rise


Among all the issues in the workplace, workplace violence is one that’s increasing at an alarming rate. Workplace violence refers to behaviors that include violence, threats or other conduct that threatens the safety of employees, customers, clients or others involved in a business or organization. Knowing about workplace violence and increasing your awareness is the first way to decrease the risk of it in your workplace. As an HR professional, here’s what you should know! 


Workplace violence comes in one of four categories 


Workplace violence hinders the safety of employees, which is why it must be mitigated at all costs. Being able to recognize each type will put you a step ahead. 

1.   Criminal intent.This type of workplace violence occurs when someone unaffiliated with the business in anyway commits an act of violence against it. For example, if a random individual commits a robbery against a convenience store or a person shoplifts at a department store that they’ve never been to before. 

2.   Customer or client.This is not a random incident as the customer or client is committing an act against a business that they know and are being served by at the time of the violence. For example, if someone becomes frustrated while in a grocery store and begins to shoot others. 

3.   Worker-on-worker.The name very much describes the violence in this category. One worker (or former worker) is committing violence against another employee. There’s history here, and it would occur (for example) if one individual began punching another individual during a disagreement. 

4.   Personal relationship.This type of workplace violence is common in domestic assault instances. While the individual committing the violence does not have a personal connection with the business, they do have a connection with the individual they’re committing violence against. 


What you can do 


Workplace violence is a difficult issue, but not talking about it only puts your staff at an even higher risk. Just like you have fire drills every month, create a procedure for workplace violence so that no one has anything to fear. 

·      Educate your staff.Education in these situations is so important! Institute drills for shooters, robberies, shoplifters, and any other scenarios that you can think of, so your employees are equipped to handle workplace violence. Let them know who they can contact within the workplace (your go-to HR professional) if they are the victim of worker-on-worker or personal relationship workplace violence. While you can’t predict every situation, you can certainly prevent some of the worst.

·      Create serious consequences.Three of the four categories of workplace violence aren’t caused by employees, but for the one that is, create serious consequences. Let it be known that workplace violence between staff members won’t be tolerated! If violence means termination, you’ll ensure that people behave. 


Final thoughts



Workplace violence is rising, and although you can’t predict all situations, you can help to prepare for some of the worst situations. First, make yourself knowledgeable and aware of workplace violence and its various types. Then, educate your staff so that they know what to do and who to contact in the event of workplace violence. You’ve got this!