Workplace environments that may trigger violence (3/28/13)
As I prepare for a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar about workplace violence for the upcoming Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute (May 20-21, 2013), I’ve created a list of characteristics that contribute to workplace stress levels and negativity, which may in turn serve as a trigger for violent behavior. Devoting time, energy and resources to strengthening employee relations through clear, transparent, and effective leadership and communications are critical to ensuring a strong workplace environment and culture.
- Under staffing, increased workloads leading to increase in working hours and compulsory overtime;
- Confusion and frustration about poorly defined job tasks and responsibilities;
- Promoting, rewarding or ignoring employees who are unaccountable, are under or poorly performing, particularly in upper management;
- Provides little or no opportunity for employee feedback; dismissive of employee concerns and complaints; no follow through or follow up on employee concerns;
- Downsizing or reorganization affecting certain employees directly; the prospect or fear of future downsizing or reorganization creating feelings of uncertainty;
- Labor disputes, negative contract negotiations and poor labor-management relations;
- Ineffective and poor management styles, such as arbitrary or unexplained decisions; over-monitoring of employee activity; corrections or reprimands in front of other employees, inconsistent discipline;
- “Do as I say, not as I do” management attitude;
- Inadequate security or an under-trained, poorly motivated security force;
- Employee counseling that is insufficient, or lacking altogether;
- A high injury rate or frequent grievances may be clues to problem situations in a workplace.[i]
[i] A portion of this content was adapted from USDOJ, FBI, Workplace Violence, Issues in Response.