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Workplace Violence Prevention News

Employee Stabs HR Managers

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Employee Stabs Human Resources Managers
What is your organizations attitude towards violence prevention?

Moments after Chuang Li was fired from his job Wednesday morning, police say he stabbed three managers.  He apparently then got into an altercation with another employee who may have tried to stop him.  Early information suggests Li, 47, was brought into a fifth-floor office in Ceridian’s human resources department shortly after 9 a.m., where two managers broke the news.

This incident is a sobering reminder of the potential dangers of dealing with people in crisis.  This is especially true when people perceive that we are creating the crisis, such as may be the case with employee terminations.  Regardless whether or not this perception is fair, its the reality that human resources must deal with on a regular basis.  Last year, I came across a discussion between two Human Resource professionals regarding the need for workplace violence prevention programs. One of the comments was "Unless you're in a unique environment (high-risk), I look at this topic as one you shouldn't worry too much about. The odds of a violent incident on your work premises are infinitely small."  This attitude reflects a fairly significant disconnect in an organizations risk management efforts.  I think this attitude exists for one basic reason, the commenter is in denial. The dangers of this point of view are compounded by the fact that this person apparently works in the Human Resources field (I feel sorry for his employees).   

Workplace violence prevention programs should address threatening behavior, bullying, harassment, domestic violence and the potential for extreme violence like we saw in Toronto. To be blunt, it’s naive to think that you can have a high performing organization if employees are worried about their safety.  On the positive side, with fairly minimal effort organizations can incorporate comprehensive workplace violence prevention programs to help protect their employees.  On the other hand, having a dismissive attitude may just move your organization into the "high-risk" category.

About us: Alvarez Associates is a Security Risk Management firm based out of Northern California that specializes in workplace violence prevention, management and response. We work with a broad range of organizations to help them address and mitigate the threat and impact of violence in the workplace.




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