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What is Workplace Violence?

It is violence or the threat of violence against employees, students, visitors and guests. It can happen in almost setting but always involves a connection to the organization or facility and can range from intimidation, bullying, threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide, one of the leading causes of job-related deaths. However it manifests itself, workplace violence is a growing concern for school administrators, students, parents, employers and employees nationwide.

  • The second leading cause of death in the workplace overall (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Almost two million U.S. workers experienced violence at work in 2011 (Bureau of Labor statistics)
  • Each workday, an estimated 16,400 threats, 723 workers are attacked and harassed (Bureau of Justice statistics)
  • More than 1,000 U.S. workers are victims of homicide at work each year (Bureau of Justice statistics)

Types of Workplace Violence

  • Criminals/Strangers - includes violent acts by criminals who have no other connection with the workplace, but enter to commit robbery or another crime.

  • Customers/Clients - includes violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, or any others for whom an organization provides services.

  • Employees/Coworkers - consists of acts committed by a present or former employee.

  • Related Parties/Personal Relations - includes violence committed in the workplace by someone who doesn’t work there, but has a personal relationship with an employee—for example, an abusive spouse or domestic partner.

Financial Costs of Workplace Violence

  • Average cost of a single workplace homicide incident: $800,000 (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
  • One medium sized California company spent $500,000 recovering from an incident that did not include physical violence (Alvarez Associates)
  • About 500,000 victims of violent crime in the workplace lose an estimated 1.8 million work days each year. (Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics)
  • The average cost to American businesses each year is estimated to be $36 billion dollars. (Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics)
  • Employers who fail to protect their employees may be liable. Jury awards for inadequate security suits average $1.2 million nationwide and   settlements average $600,000. (Source: Family Violence Prevention Fund- Seven Reasons Employers Should Address Domestic Violence)


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