Workplace violence remains a serious concern in all professions. Managers don't receive the necessary training to spot the signs of potential workplace violence. Tragic consequences may result when an unstable employee loses control. Executives in a position of authority should invest the necessary time and effort to reduce the potential for incidents. Some may not think this is necessary. Three critical reasons reveal why businesses must focus attention on reduces workplace violence.


Is it Really Such a Concern?


How serious is workplace violence in America? Should business owners sincerely be concerned? Workplace violence occurs with alarming frequency and, yes, anyone running a business should worry about an outbreak of violence. Highly stressful jobs bring with them the risk of an employee losing control. Employees could be under stress from matters not related to work, but their problems do carry over into the workplace. Financial strain, family troubles, and more can lead to issues. Reports exist of incidents where stalking may lead to violence. If an employee misbehaves towards a co-worker, management must take action.

Public sector jobs seem to present higher risks. According to Eastern Kentucky University, on average, 18.9 out of 1,000 government employees are reported as victims of simple assault in the workplace each year, compared to 4.6 employees in the private sector. Still, the numbers in the private sector are high and occur all too regularly in the United States.


Don't Ignore Liability Issues


Liability refers to negligence. When management abdicates responsibility, an employee may be able to sue a business for negligence. If management contributed to workplace violence by omission or not taking appropriate action, a plaintiff might have a strong case.

Negligence is often avoidable. Business owners and high-level executives should familiarize themselves with the causes of workplace violence, identify problems, and, importantly, work to reduce the potential for occurrences.


How Can I Stop It?


Management could take many steps to identify problems and stop workplace violence. Bringing in an expert to hold a seminar on the topic would help tremendously. Establishing rules of office conduct, especially rules regarding harassment, could help curtail issues. Rules regarding interoffice communications should be in effect. All workers should make sure their communication is professional in all mediums and all conflicts are addressed fairly and calmly.

Don't dismiss anything inappropriate as "small" or "trivial." Overlooking little things might lead to a snowball effect where a situation gets out of hand. While dealing with a troubled employee can be awkward, not dealing with the employee may prove disastrous.

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