Violence in the Workplace


It only takes seconds for an argument or disagreement to get out of control, especially at work. Most of the time, after a little break, everyone has a chance to cool down. Unfortunately, on rare occasions, disagreements are taken to heart and things begin to spiral. When that happens you need to know how to protect yourself.

Signs Someone May Have Violent Tendencies

Notice that an employee shows sudden extreme changes in behavior, like crying or making threats to hurt themselves or others? Maybe they’re pushing the limits of professional conduct, or disregarding the safety of others. In some cases, they may verbally threaten to cause harm to another employee. This could be a sign of trouble.

If you see or hear anything alarming, discreetly contact your employer or supervisor to let them know what’s going on.

Types of Violence

Violent situations in the workplace are unfortunate, but it’s good to understand possible dynamics or scenarios. Most often it’s:

  • Employee vs employee or employer
  • Ex-employee or dissatisfied customer
  • A random individual with no ties or connection to the company

Violence can be a targeted attack against one person or just a random act. This includes verbal abuse, actual physical assault, or threats to anyone related to their place of employment.

What’s the First Thing to Do?

If someone threatens you or someone else with a weapon, it’s best to remain calm. Don’t provoke a verbal argument or attack, and don’t respond to any of their threats. Do whatever you can to avoid having to get close to the threatening person. It’s best to walk away and then alert another worker or your supervisor about what’s going on. From there, you can alert the authorities if needed.

Active Shooter Situation

No one wants to hear or see someone coming at them or others with a gun. The first thing you need to do is find a safe spot to retreat. If you don’t have time to flee, get down onto the floor as quickly as possible and hide. From there, see if you can safely move to a closet or room where the door locks. The ultimate goal is to get out of the building and away from any stray bullets. Never try to reason with a shooter or wait for others to act; it’s a matter of life or death.

Violent acts in the workplace often occur unexpectedly, but if you know what signs to look for you’re one step ahead. Removing yourself from a bad situation is the best way to avoid the harmful and often deadly repercussions of violence.

Have you ever witnessed violence in the workplace? If so, how was it resolved? Reply to your email and share your story, we would love to hear from you!

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