A recent article in Security Magazine, titled “Patients Are People First”, starts with a grim statement: “Healthcare is one of the most violent professions in the private sector – the number of violent events in the healthcare workplace is on par with law enforcement and corrections.” According to Ryan Weber, the article’s writer, one of the causes of this spike in violence at healthcare facilities is the shift towards a focus on patient satisfaction, and the view of patients as customers, leading to a situation where: “… caretakers often forgo their own safety to produce results, creating a more unsafe work environment and potentially providing a lower level of care.”
Sexual harassment exists everywhere people come into contact, including at work. Workplace sexual harassment creates a disruptive and harmful environment that hurts the target of the act in the first place, but also damages work ethics, morale, productivity and communication, thereby impacting a company far beyond the immediate circle of the harasser and the harassed.
Workplace violence, regardless of whether it is perpetrated by a male or female attacker, yields the same result: innocent lives are taken.
A recent Rand Corporation report titled “Working Conditions in the United States” finds that women reported verbal abuse, threats, and humiliating behavior at a slightly higher rate than men, but experienced a fivefold occurrence of unwanted sexual attention, compared to that reported by men.
About 20% of America’s workers were subjected to some form of verbal abuse, unwanted sexual attention, threats, or humiliating behavior at work in the past month or to physical violence, bullying or harassment, or sexual harassment at work in the past 12 months.
Dealing with workplace bullying situations is always a challenging task. There are, however, circumstances where the complexity and the challenges faced by the responsible authorities are even greater than usual.
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, bullying is four times more common than sexual harassment or racial discrimination on the job. At the upcoming ASIS 2017, R3 Continuum’s Dr. George Vergolias, and TAL Global’s Oscar Villanueva will grab the troublesome phenomenon of Workplace Bullying by the horns, Explore how to define its psychological origins, how to identify it, and how to prevent it.
Terminating an employee can be traumatic for the employee, and a difficult task for managers, supervisors, and HR professionals. Beyond normal terminations, terminating an employee that may respond violently requires special attention and special preparations.
Incomplete or incorrect handling of the termination process of a violent employee may result in dire consequences, physically, psychologically, legally and financially. The guidance of a professional in the preparation for such proceedings can prevent significant complications down the road.
A response to violence in progress or immediately evolving threats at work is different from a response to potential threats. Employees and management should learn to differentiate between the two and to respond appropriately.
In the wake of the recent active shooter incidents in American workplaces, maybe it’s time to take a hard look at the numbers and what they mean.