Workplace violence is violence or the threat of violence against workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported fatal work injuries due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals were lower in 2014, with 749 deaths in 2014 compared to 773 in 2013. The number of workplace homicides was about the same as the total in 2013, but workplace suicides decreased slightly in 2014, from 282 to 271. Among the workplace homicides in which women were the victims, the greatest share of assailants were relatives or domestic partners (32 percent of those homicides). In workplace homicides involving men, robbers were the most common type of assailant (33 percent).
It can occur at or outside the workplace and can range from 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 employers and employees nationwide.
Heard Law Firm recently represented the widow of a 30-year-old, decorated veteran, who after serving two tours of duty in the middle east returned to the United States to be shot and killed in the workplace. The shooter’s bizarre behavior was not unknown to the employer, and while plans were made to terminate the shooter, he acted out towards and took an innocent victim’s life.
Employers are required to provide a safe and healthful workplace for all employees. Business principals must be trained in identifying preventive measures to promote a safer work environment, and must act appropriately to stop workplace violence from occurring.
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