The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) classifies workplace violence as any physical assault, threatening behavior, or verbal abuse which occurs in a work setting. This includes psychological trauma due to threats.
As Preparis X-Force member, Bill Hildebrand, noted in his webinar, “Preparing for Workplace Violence: what to do in the event of an active shooter” office bullying, harassment, or an intimidating presence are workplace violence which can lead to deadly consequences.
You as an administrator need to worry about office bullying as not only can be a precursor to a crime, but also counts as Type III in the NIOSH classifications of workplace violence:
I. Criminal – Aggressor has no relationship to the business or its employees. 85% of workplace homicides fall into this category
II. Customer/Client – Aggressor has a relationship with the business. Accounts for 3% of workplace homicides
III. Worker-on-Worker – Aggressor is a current or former employee. Accounts for 7% of workplace homicides
IV. Personal Relationship – Aggressor has no relationship to the business, but does have a relationship with the intended victim. Accounts for 5% of workplace homicides
Businesses need to understand that office bullying must be taken seriously before it escalates into a homicide. When the NYPD conducted a study of the most common places where an active shooting can occur, offices and commercial facilities ranked in the top five spots.
Here are tips for dealing with office bullying in your workplace.
– Document when the bullying occurred, to whom, and the specific information. This documentation is essential in showing your business took measures to prevent this behavior from happening in the event of a criminal or civil investigation.
– Consult with your legal team, either in-house counsel or a specialized firm to confirm your policy is strong enough to protect employees against office bullying
– Host training sessions so employees understand the “See Something, Say Something” protocol to report workplace violence
You and your business don’t have to be the victim of workplace violence. If your organization needs help in training or best practices, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 404.662.2950. Be sure to follow Preparis on Facebook and Twitter to learn more on how your business can prevent the threat of an office bully.
Marlia Fontaine-Weisse is the Content Manager for Preparis.