HR Management & Compliance

Workplace Violence: Why Action Now Can Save Lives Later

Donnell Roberts had recently been terminated from his job at the Barona Resort and Casino in San Diego County. Last week, he walked into the casino and killed his former manager with a shotgun before taking his own life.

While coworkers and supervisors reported that they had seen no indications of problems with Roberts’ behavior, his wife noted that he had engaged in acts of aggression that were never reported to authorities. For example, Roberts had once slashed the tires of a former supervisor.

7 Steps for Preventing Workplace Violence

A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management reveals that more than half the companies in the United States have experienced some form of workplace violence.

Learn how to protect your workplace with our free White Paper, 7 Steps for Preventing Workplace Violence.

Taking formal action in response to employee threats and acts of violence is an important way to make sure that warning signs don’t get overlooked. Unless formal complaints are made and documented, employee background checks won’t reveal prior incidents or patterns of behavior involving threats or violence.

Whether noted in a personnel file or in a police or court record, information concerning past behavioral problems can help well-trained managers and HR personnel spot troubled prospective employees before hiring them.

In addition to documenting aggressive behavior in employee personnel files, making official police complaints, and terminating troubled employees, California employers can also seek restraining orders (also called injunctions) against employees who have engaged in violent or threatening behavior against the company, supervisors or coworkers.

Information on legal action that can be taken to prevent workplace violence can be found on the California Courts’ Self-Help website.

We’ll have more on how to respond to violent or threatening conduct in the workplace in an upcoming issue of California Employer Advisor.

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