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Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is more common in many workplace environments than we would like to believe. We've all heard the phrase "going postal" used to denote violent actions in the workplace by a disgruntled employee. We here it all too often, yet, we don't take it seriously until it happens on our job or if a serious act of violence is reported on the news.

An employee may get upset because he or she may feel that they were passed over for a promotion. denied a raise, disciplined for not performing job duties effectively or he or she may be frustrated with the amount of work they have on their plates.

Other causes of violent behavior may have to do with verbal abuse or harassment by others on the job or an employee may be offended by a mean spirited boss who is overbearing and unyielding. He or she may feel out of place because of cliques and favoritism in the workplace, whether real or perceived.

Anger and violence may not have anything to do with the job at all. An employee may have problems at home that stem from personal or financial issues. It may be caused by the breakup of a marriage, a foreclosure, bankruptcy or any number of other problems, especially if they cause stress, dread, unhappiness, depression, rejection, or humiliation.

Violence in the workplace is a serious and very real problem for many employees and their employers. In an instant, a situation can go from peaceful to violent and may even turn deadly. It is easy to turn a blind eye to an impending situation because a co-worker is a friend or if you don't want to make waves. But you should never assume that a threat is not real, whether it is directed at you, your family, another co-worker, a manager, or anyone else.

Always take threats seriously and inform the proper authorities if you feel threatened or if you hear a threat made against a fellow employee. The right action on your part may save your life or the life of a co-worker. As seen in many instances of workplace violence, if a person decides to harm someone, he or she doesn't pick and choose who they hurt. They will hurt anyone they come in contact with, friend, foe, or innocent bystander, and either group may include you.

Threats to do bodily harm and any type of violent behavior should never be tolerated in the workplace. Even the slightest hint of violence may be a warning sign that should not be ignored and anyone seen with a gun, knife, or other types weapons should be reported to a manager, security, or the police immediately.

Violence is not limited to people who make outward threats. Some of the most violent workplace incidences have been carried out by employees who never show violent behavior. They can be non-threatening, non-argumentative, and they may be the friendliest employee in the company.

A person may never display anger or make any type of threat to you or other employees, yet, they may harbor deep seated anger and psychological issues. After a violent incident, you always hear people saying, "I never in my wildest dreams thought that he would hurt anyone. He was such a nice person and he got along with everyone." The problem with violence in the workplace is that you never know when, where, or how it's going to happen.

Actually, the chances are great that it will never happen to you, but there is always the possibility that a fellow employee may go "postal."

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