What is Workplace Violence?

Read all about it! Killer at the office!
We’ve all seen the news, watched in horror as yet another place of business is held hostage by an employee who “just snapped” one day. But in reality, this model of workplace violence – the change from decent employee to violent criminal – are more predictable than the less visible types.

Those who harbor these tendencies can often be identified before they act out. And, while you may not be able to prevent the individual from ever causing harm, you can pinpoint each one as a threat – and choose to never hire that person.

The daily threat
Workplace assaults that make the news are tragic, but those are not the majority of cases. The unnoticed, sometimes daily, types can lead to a hostile work environment. Intimidation, threats, and animosity between co-workers reduces performance and can bring about costly repercussions.

These consequences are not only painful for the employees, but can have a negative impact on the business as a whole, including clientele, other business relationships, and financial concerns.

Who does it impact?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a staggering two million American workers are victims of workplace violence every year.

The SHRM Workplace Violence Survey, published in 2012, found that over one-third (36 percent) of organizations reported incidents. But, like the bulk of an iceberg below the surface, the inevitable result of such behavior can never be estimated or limited to those in the immediate sphere of the perpetrator.

In fact, the fallout from the violent actions of one employee toward another can also include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, thoughts of suicide and so much more.

How much does workplace violence cost a company?

The 2011 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index reports “assaults and violent acts” as the 10th leading cause of nonfatal occupational injury at a workers’ compensation cost of $590 million, during 2009.

Liability costs:
Acts of violence in the workplace can result in myriad legal actions against employers, as can steps taken in an effort to prevent workplace violence. Potential areas for litigation or charges may include the following:

  • Civil actions for negligent hiring, retention or supervision.
  • Workers’ compensation claims
  • Third-party negligence claims for damages.
  • Requests for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or state family and medical leave laws.
  • Claims resulting from mental impairments under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • OSHA citations, fines or criminal charges.

Indirect costs:
Although these numbers are far from complete, to calculate the indirect costs of workplace violence to an organization and its employees, one must take into account more than costs quantifiable in dollars and work hours.

Whether an incident of violence or harassment at work involves just two people or two thousand, it will create a widening circle of response, diverting attention and resources from the business at hand. At a minimum, it will require management attention at some level, most often immediate supervisors, HR managers and staff, but it could also require senior management, safety and security, and medical and legal advisors.

Shareholders and the public:
Depending on the size of the organization, an incident may cause concern in the community, especially if there is injury or loss of life to its members. The organization may suffer a loss of public trust, damage to its reputation and public image, dilution of value, and loss of business relationships.

Many times, workplace violence draws the attention of the media and may necessitate a coordinated public response.

Law enforcement:
In addition to managing the impact on employees and their families, an incident of workplace violence may subject the organization to the intervention of outside interests. Criminal actions may involve more than one level of law enforcement with jurisdiction to interview witnesses and make arrests.

Government agencies, such as OSHA and its state counterparts, may have authority to conduct investigations, interview victims and witnesses, and issue citations, assess penalties and, in extreme cases, impose criminal sanctions.

Impact on employees:
For the victims and witnesses of workplace violence and domestic violence in the workplace and their families, the impact can be physical, mental, emotional and economic, and it can be catastrophic.

How can Orion stop these consequences before they starts? The WVPA!

The WVPA goes far beyond testing for Type 1 occurrences. The WVPA tests for attitudes, present in potential employees, that lead to threatening or confrontational behavior that contribute to a lack of safety and productivity by fellow employees in the workplace.

While not all workplace violence can be eliminated, a powerful tool is now available to help identify those individuals, before you hire them, who threaten your company’s safety, security and perhaps, its very survival. This tool is Orion’s Workplace Violence Pre-employment Assessment, or WVPA.

The WVPA is the culmination of a multi-year research project designed to identify those at risk to commit violent acts in the workplace.

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, Orion surveyed and studied violent criminals incarcerated in seven high-security prisons.

This ground-breaking research resulted in the first cutting-edge tool to aid in the effort to reduce workplace violence at the pre-hire stage.

Using the Orion WVPA as part of your pre-hire decision making means you have initiated the first steps to:
Protect the safety of your employees, customers, workplace guests, vendors and others.
Limit your company’s liability.
Avoid devastating publicity resulting from an incidence of violence at your workplace.

Replace fear and concern with peace of mind

Orion’s Workplace Violence Pre-employment Assessment is the best choice for stopping workplace violence before the perpetrator ever becomes an employee. Not only that, but it’s a simple pre-hire assessment, the results are instantaneous, and your choice is clear.

With Orion’s assessment, you have the power to choose safety over violence for your employees, your clients, and yourself.

Connect with an Orion Representative NOW to stop workplace violence in your place of business.