Nearly every day you hear a report that some act of violence has been committed in a work place. Odds are you think, this will never happen here, but what if it does? Are you prepared? As Business Owners, Managers and Leaders, it is our job to be prepared and vigilant in ensuring we have a safe place to work.
First and foremost, you need to take the time to create a plan of action and identify where your weaknesses are. Your plan may be universal in dealing with multiple types of violence but you should at a minimum consider how you will react in the following situations:
• Domestic Violence – restraining orders, harassment, stalking
• Terminated employee – during termination meeting, coming back to worksite after termination
• Community Activists – threats made against company, protest or rallies
• Conflicts between employees – fights, disputes, hostile environments, etc.
In a study conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, it was reported that domestic violence costs US employers up to 13 billion dollars; resulting in job loss for one quarter to one half of victims. It was estimated that 3.5 to 5 billion of those costs are directly related to absenteeism, lost productivity and healthcare costs. Employers should promote resources to assist employees in finding a way out by posting reference material, having an employer sponsored Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) and having an Employee Advocate.
Over Two Million American workers are victimized each year in one way or another in the workplace. Be it violence or threats of violence against their person or property and come from both internal and external forces.
Employers should have a plan and discuss this plan with your staff. Conduct trainings and assessments, know what to do in the event of an act, just like you would if there was a tornado or a fire. As companies grow it is important to identify new employees, ensure people know who they are and if they see someone they don’t know they should be educated to know what to do, who do they tell.
Safety in the workplace is a team effort and all employees should be vigilant to protect themselves, their co-workers and their company from harm!
National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV)
Bureau of National Affairs, Violence and Stress: The Work/Family Connection, Washington, DC, August 1990. Special Report Number 23