Lesson 4: Topic 1 of 14
If you do not respond firmly and swiftly to violent behavior, you leave yourself vulnerable to a lawsuit if the violent employee physically harms a coworker, vendor or customer. The argument against you is that by not removing the violent employee from your workplace, you allowed a potentially violent situation to develop.Amy DelPo, Lisa Guerin, and Janet Portman lnha lnfa rcal ala hcbs renewal NAB NCERS CEU Culture LPC LMFT NPC
Type 3 (“lateral” or “horizontal”) violence is not going to be mitigated by any of the tools that can help with the other categories; since the assailant is one of your employees, he or she is cleared to bypass barriers and has free access to the buildings. No one thinks twice about this person’s presence the way they might (and should) when seeing a strange face on the property. Therefore the ideal means of eliminating Type 3 violence are to (1) prevent it from ever happening by minimizing widely-recognized triggers to violence or, even better, (2) never onboarding a violence-prone person in the first place.
As to the former, research into this issue has shown some commonalities among those who commit workplace violence, even across socio-economic backgrounds and working in widely disparate industries. Among other things, the assailant tends to:
There may be nothing you can do about the last three points, but the first three are to a certain degree under your control. If the environment is overwhelming, get input from staff and make efforts to improve them (ear plugs, fans, etc.). While not expecting them to become friends you can take steps to encourage employee engagement. And put in place clear policies, communicate them, and enforce them equally.
Along the lines of enforcement, there are always times when employee discipline is necessary. The best way to handle it ― with anyone, not merely those whom you fear might be triggered by it ― is to ensure that disciplinary action is:
“When punishment is delivered under these conditions,” writes psychologist and consultant Robert Baron, “it can be highly effective in deterring subsequent aggressive actions by the persons who receive it.”