Burr & Forman

11.7.2019   |   Articles / Publications

“Facing Workplace Violence and Best Practices for Prevention,” Employee Relations Law Journal

In an article published in the Winter issue of Employee Relations Law Journal, Christine Tenley, Nina Maja Bergmar and Miya Moore discuss components of a robust workplace safety protocol aimed at both preventing and confronting workplace violence.

Unfortunately, it is becoming a regular occurrence to hear news reports of mass shootings and violent attacks, many in the workplace. While the nature of attacks may differ greatly, employers examine their policies and procedures in order to prevent similar acts of workplace violence in their establishments.

Providing a safe working environment is a requirement of employers pursuant to the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) Act of 1970, which charges employers with maintaining a work environment “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” Yet, each year two million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence, and it is likely that many additional cases go unreported.

The most effective way to address workplace violence is to implement a robust workplace safety protocol aimed at both preventing and confronting workplace violence. Consider incorporating the following elements in your company policies and procedures: prescreen applicants, implement workplace safety and reporting procedures, offer an employee assistance program, establish safe termination protocols, train employees on policies and procedures, and maintain thorough records.

The authors conclude, “While there is no way to predict an attack, the preventative measures discussed above may prevent or decrease the likelihood of future violence. Even in the aftermath of a violent incident, employers should take the opportunity to assess and examine any vulnerabilities that, if corrected, could have either prevented the incident from occurring or minimized its effects. With effective workplace safety policies and procedures, employers can prevent, respond to, and recover from workplace violence.”

For the full article, you may view the attached pdf.