This work was commissioned to look into violence in the workplace and come up with a template that could be used in the future in reducing potential violence in the workplace. It is common knowledge that managers are not well equipped in developing appropriate and applicable measures to deal with issues of violence. The seriousness of violence in workplaces and how it is viewed by organizations will be discussed and appropriate measures taken. This paper focuses mainly on violence types II, III and IIV. Theories on things that precipitate violence at workplaces will be discussed and will be critical in coming up with ways of preventing workplace violence.
Literature Review section will contain work done by other researchers discussing; the prevalence of violence in workplaces, reasons for violence in workplaces, the cost incurred as a direct result of violence in workplaces and strategies for advocating for this vice. The section on prevention of violence in workplaces includes a plan developed based on the recommendations from other reports. The methodology part comprises of procedures used in collecting information.
Violence in workplaces has been a common phenomenon in most labor industries for quite some time. Workplace violence dates back to the 1990s when it was first classified as among the United States’ epidemic by the United States Center of Disease Control. Ever since, violence in the workplace has become a major subject of concern in business organizations, labor organizations and the United States’ government agencies. Violence at places of work could include threats to other workers, assault whether simple or aggravated, rape and other forms of sexual harassment, homicide, robbery and even suicide. Organizations that experience episodes of workplace violence are impacted negatively in terms of employee productivity and the company’s image.[“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Violence in the workplace can be categorized into four; type I which also known as criminal intent. In type I violence, the person behind the violent incident has no legitimate relationship with the organization or worker being attacked. Type I violence always occurs in conjunction with other crimes such as robberies. Type II also termed as customer/client violence which occurs during the course of service to a client. Type III also termed as worker-on-worker violence occurs among colleagues or workers at an institution. And finally type IV occurs at personal relationship level. The employee under attack in this type of violence has a relationship with the attacker.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Incidences of workplace violence have been on the rise for the last decade. It is estimated that more than two million workers in the United States are victims of workplace violence. One could think workplace violence is a new phenomenon but in the real sense it isn’t. In 1986, the first incident of mass killing in workplace occurred in Edmond Oklahoma were Patrick, a letter carrier, killed 14 other workers before shooting himself. On 7th January the year 2010 a former employee of ABB in St. Louis Missouri by the name Timothy killed 3 employees and injured 5 others before he shot himself. It took 5 days before another incident took place in Atlanta where Warren shot 2 employees and injured another 3 before getting arrested by the police (Schmidtke et al. 2011). All organizations are therefore expected to come up with appropriate plans for prevention of violence at their workplaces to prevent costs incurred from them and to maintain their productivity.
Violence at work places has been established to be a big threat to employees’ safety. In a study that involved analysis of 6402 compensation assault claims presented by workers in Rhode Island from 1988 to 2002 showed that there existed about 27.7 assaults for every 10,000 workers. However, these cases varied significantly among the sexes with females having filed 75 % of the total assault claims. There were no significant differences in the number of total claims within the years. The cost for the total assault claim was $7,025,997 dollars and roughly $ 1097 for every claim. There was a noted decrease in severity of the incidents but the outcome was still alarming (Horwitz et al., 2006). There was need for coming up with preventive measures to curb this and especially for the more vulnerable groups.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Similar findings as those above were also obtained when analysis of compensation claims from 1990 to 1997 of victims of workplace violence was done in Oregon. A total of 2028 compensation claims were analyzed with Current Population Survey data being used for risk analysis. There were 1.86 cases of workplace violence for every 10,000 employees every year. Females and junior works were leading in the number of cases. Cost per each assault claim was approximately 6200 U.S. dollars. Workers on night shifts and those on evening duty recorded more cases of workplace violence than their counterparts who worked during the day. Workers working on weekends were affected the most than those who worked during weekdays (McCall et al., 2004).
Homicide is among the fatal violence recorded in some workplaces. However majority of these cases of homicide are linked to robbery-related violence with little attention put on non-robbery-related homicides. Through analysis of case series of information in from 1994 to 2003 in North Carolina vital findings were obtained. Data was also collected through interviewing law-enforcement officers and newspapers from 2003-2007. Findings obtained showed that robbery-related homicide at workplaces was the majority with 64 % with 36 % being non-robbery-related cases. Strangers were the main perpetrators of robbery-related violence with 73% but only took part in 11% of the non-robbery-related violence. Robbery-related violence was the majority in retail sector by 67 % while the non-robbery-related contributed for fewer cases. Non-robbery-related homicides therefore contribute significantly to the total homicides at a workplace. They should therefore not be ignored and measures should be put up to help reduce or remove them completely (Gurka et al., 2009).
There are many causes of violence in workplaces that from personal differences among employees, misunderstandings between employees and clients at points of service and crimes such as robberies. Worker-on-worker violence is the most sought after by researchers with the need of determine its route cause. Aggression at workplaces is thought to be among things that result to worker-on-worker conflicts which eventually result into violence. It is also thought that these acts of aggression are not always filled with malice but rather they are just for fulfillment of other desired end (Neuman et al., 2005). However, people should be careful when viewing acts of aggression since some acts inflict pain on others but are not necessarily aggression.
Incivility among employees is something that goes unnoticed by managements of most organizations. Many organizations are not in the position to identify these kinds of behaviors among its employees, a few understand their negative impacts while most management lack proper ways of approaching and handling such behaviors (Pearson et al., 2005). Approximately 70 % of public have confessed having ever experienced incivility at workplaces in the previous 5 years. Women however were the most affected (Cortina et al., 2001)
Incivility at work places and the inability of organizations to recognize it among its employees could be attributed to the increased cases of violence at workplaces. Lack of respect for those in higher ranks and those in the junior categories can be the cause of conflicts and misunderstandings something that could aggravate worker-on-worker conflicts. It has also been found that organizations with incivility among workers suffer reduced employee work effort, lack of loyalty from employees and decreased job satisfaction.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2016) almost 50 % of workers in most organizations have had the experiences of workplace violence. Of the fifty percent bout 43 % of the cases were worker-on-worker, 28 % was customer/client, 24 % was domestic violence related while 17 % involved criminal incidents. Most business was also found to have been poorly prepared in addressing incidences of workplace violence. This is owing to the fact that there are more cases of worker-on-worker violence than other forms of violence. There was no and if there limited training of employees on anti-violence practices, no defined rules and regulations on violence and inadequate supervision of employees.
Violence at workplace is accompanied by both direct and indirect costs. Litigations are among the common direct costs that result from workplace violence. It is estimated that about $ 120 billion is incurred by American businesses every year. Average jury awards are high for subsequent liability cases in which the employer has failed to come up with preventive and proactive measure as outlined in Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines. In 2004 this award is estimated have been 3.1 million U.S. dollars per person incident (AnnMarie et al., 2013). The result is a loss of the organization’s revenue on paying claims filled these victims.
Incidents of violence at workplaces not only affect revenues of an organization but also those of their employees. Organizations that have recently experience of workplace violence may have to give its employees some time off in order to sort the situation and look after those injured. It is estimated that approximately half-a-million workers miss about two days of work due to this. This has impacts on the worker wages and salaries something that amounts to a about 55 million dollars (Schmidtke et al. 2011).
Workplace violence resulting from domestic related violence or intimate partner violence has been found to impact greatly on victimized workers as compared to the other types. Findings from a web-based study done on 1550 female workers and 823 male workers in 3 different organizations showed that victims of intimate partner violence missed significant hours of work due to absenteeism than the other workers. Workers where lifetime victims of intimate partner victims were the most affected than those who were not lifetime victims. Victims of intimate partner violence were also more likely to be distracted at work than other workers who were non-victims (Reeves et al., 2007).
Violence in workplaces is common in most organizations in the world. It ranges from acts like use of abusive language, physical assault and homicide. All types of violence from type Ito type IV has been documented in different workplaces. However junior works of below 35 years and the female workers present more cases of violent attacks at their places of work. Workplace violence benefits to neither the organization nor the worker under attack. There is therefore need to come up measures to help curb this vice that is becoming part of our every day to day activities at workplaces.
There is need for the employer to ensure worker safety at their places of work. This is for the wellbeing of the employee and at the same time improved productivity of the organization. Effects of incidents of violence at workplaces are felt both by the employer and the employee. Prevention of occurrence or recurrence of such incidents largely depends on formulation and implementation of various proposed strategies by the organization. Such strategies range from employee training, incident report teams and review of the set measures.
Recommendations on Prevention of Workplace Violence
It is apparent that workplace violence cannot be completely eliminated from our areas of work. However incidents of workplace violence can be minimized through the various strategies. These strategies include; performing risk assessment by the company, keeping track of employee history and any form of problematic behaviors and ensuring pre-employment screening. There is also the need for collaborative efforts between employers, employees, law enforcers and the healthcare department in the detection and prevention threats to violent threats.
The organization should come up with policies on workplace violence to govern activities of its employees. Employees should also be made aware of such policies. One of such policies could be employer’s no threat and violence policy. In the policy the employer should stipulate that the organization will not condone any form of prohibited acts. It should be signed by all employees. By doing so, the employer sends a clear message to the employee that any involvement in mischievous activities will be their responsibility, not the employer’s.
Both the management and workers of an organization should be trained on workplace violence. This training would include risk information on factors for workplace violence, how to recognize workplace violence, prevention measures and procedures when reporting suspicious threats. This training should be regular basis or if not a short refresher could be offered over a short period span.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Organizations are expected to come up with an incident response team. This team shall comprise of people whose responsibility will be assessing and managing threats. It therefore calls upon an organization to train a given proportion of their workforce in evaluation of risks, assessment of threats and conflict resolution. In order to ensure efficiency of the team, there will be need to seek external support from law enforcement, the mental health department and other social service professionals.
Coming up with policies, trainings to employees and formation of incident response teams are not sufficient in combating cases of workplace violence. There is therefore need for regular reviews of the above proposed measures. This could be done at least every 6 months to evaluate whether they are efficient or underperforming. This would also serve as a reminder to all employees and the employer ensuring constant alert and refrain from prohibited acts.
AnnMarie Papa, D. N. P., Jeanne Venella, D. N. P., & CEN, C. (2013). Workplace violence in healthcare: Strategies for advocacy. Online journal of issues in nursing, 18(1), 101.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2006). Survey of workplace violence prevention.
Cortina, L. M., Magley, V. J., Williams, J. H., & Langhout, R. D. (2001). Incivility in the workplace: incidence and impact. Journal of occupational health psychology, 6(1), 64.
Gurka, K. K., Marshall, S. W., Runyan, C. W., Loomis, D. P., Casteel, C., & Richardson, D. B. (2009). Contrasting robbery-and non–robbery-related workplace homicide: North Carolina, 1994–2003. American journal of preventive medicine, 37(1), 17-23.
Horwitz, I. B., McCall, B. P., & Horwitz, S. K. (2006). Surveillance and assessment of workplace assault injuries: Analysis of Rhode Island workers’ compensation claims 1998–2002. Preventive medicine, 43(5), 429-432.
McCall, B. P., & Horwitz, I. B. (2004). Workplace violence in Oregon: An analysis using workers’ compensation claims from 1990–1997. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 46(4), 357-366.
Neuman, J. H., & Baron, R. A. (2005). Aggression in the workplace: A social-psychological perspective. Counterproductive work behavior: Investigations of actors and targets, 7, 13-40.
Pearson, C. M., & Porath, C. L. (2005). On the nature, consequences and remedies of workplace incivility: No time for “nice”? Think again. The Academy of Management Executive, 19(1), 7-18.
Reeves, C., & O’Leary-Kelly, A. M. (2007). The effects and costs of intimate partner violence for work organizations. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(3), 327-344.
Schmidtke, R. (2011). Workplace violence: Identification and prevention. The Journal of Law Enforcement, 1(1).