developing a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program

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This is a copy of a presentation that I gave to the DuPage (IL) Society of Human Resources Managers (DSHRM) in November, 2010 discussing the need for and steps to implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program within your organization.


  • 1. 1 HRs Emerging Role in Preventing Workplace Violence Incidents Rick Nelson, CPP Richard D. Nelson & Associates Security Consultants Board Certified in Security Management

2. 2 Full Disclosure My Name is Rick Nelson Ive Never Been to a Garden Party I cant Play the Guitar Ozzie & Harriet are Fine Yes, my middle name is David And, If you laughed at any of these, I know that you are over the age of 40 3. 3 Agenda Types of Workplace Violence Incidents Costs Associated with Workplace Violence Changing Role of Municipal Police Agencies Why is HR Involved in WPV Prevention? Identify Common Traits of Offenders Discuss Common Triggering Events Define The Gold Standard of Comprehensive WPV Prevention Programs Handling Employee Termination Events Safely Questions / Comments 4. 4 Video courtesy of Dan Weigers Why am I here today? 5. 5 Are You Prepared? In a 2005 Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Study: In an average week, 1 employee is killed and 25 are seriously injured during violent assaults by current of former coworkers Homicides are the second leading cause of job-related deaths, surpassed only by motor vehicle accidents Only 68% of employers have written policies addressing workplace violence Far fewer have a comprehensive plan for preventing violence in the workplace 6. 6 Workplace Violence Typology Types of WPV Incidents 1. Criminal Act Robbery, or other crime 2. Recipient of Service ER Nurse, Taxi driver 3. Worker on Worker Current or former employee 4. Personal Relationship Non-Job Related (Domestic Violence by Spouse / Partner) 7. 7 HR 101 8. 8 Can We Agree In order to have people function at their peak.. Employees need to feel safe first & foremost 9. 9 Can We Agree? 1.7 million violent victimizations annually $6.5 Billion + lost business and productivity, litigation, medical care, psychiatric care, higher insurance rates, increased security measures, negative publicity, and loss of employees Source: National Institute for Prevention of Workplace Violence & Violence in the Workplace, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. 10. 10 Financial Impact NIOSH research indicates that the average cost of a workplace homicide exceeds $850,000 per incident Average out-of-court settlement in negligence cases of workplace violence averages $500,000 (Not including any punitive damages) The average jury award involving negligence cases of workplace violence exceeds $3 Million (Rebecca Speer, workplace violence attorney study) 11. 11 Can We Also Agree: Employees who feel safe are: More productive? Less distracted? More engaged? Happier? Better Employees? 12. 12 Do I really need to be concerned about workplace violence? Weve never had a incident in the past, We have good policies, We do pre-employment screening, We have our own security force, And, besides, if anything happens, we can always call the police.. 13. 13 The Role of the Police Serve & Protect What is the image that you see? 14. 14 No, Not this image 15. 15 The Image Most people See. 16. 16 The Police Serve & Protect 17. 17 The Police Serve & Protect During the 1980s 90s Innovative new policing programs were initiated (Community Policing, DARE, CAPS). During this recession, for the first time, Police Departments have been forced to lay-off sworn officers. The role of Law Enforcement is changing Organized Criminal Elements Gangs Drugs Terrorism (Domestic & International) Computer / Internet Based Crimes Increasingly, as criminals become better organized and better armed, This is the face of local law enforcement. 18. 18 PROTECT & serve 19. 19 The New Face of Protect & Serve post 9/11, NYC 20. 20 Police Response Times Atlanta Journal Constitution studied response times to high-priority 9-1-1 calls during 2008 Average response time of Atlanta PD for the first officer to arrive on the scene was more than 11 minutes. Comparison of other departments across the country showed response times ranged from 8:54 to 11:12 21. 21 The average violent Active Shooter incident is over in less than 5 minutes 22. 22 Back to the original questionDo I really need to be concerned about workplace violence? Economic Conditions Worst recession since WWII Massive Job Losses Nationwide Many expect that unemployment will reach 11% Higher rates of divorce Higher rates of bankruptcy Record rates of foreclosure Repossessing the American Dream In sum, our workforce is under stressors like we have never seem before 23. 23 Case Study William Smith - ABC Company Mfg Company bought out by V/C led conglomerate. Long term EVP being terminated History of Internal Investigations History of verbal abuse to employees (specifically against HR Director) 24. 24 Background Current management was in the process of reorganizing the senior management team. Mr. William Smith, an original equity partner and long term employee of the company & current Executive Vice President was to be notified that his employment is being terminated. Management was concerned that Mr. Smith may react negatively to learning of his termination. In the past, Mr. Smith has been verbally aggressive and combative to other staff; (they denied any knowledge of any physical violence). Prior to an meeting with the Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Smith complained to a co-worker that he was frustrated and felt that his role had been diminished and his ability to effectively complete his job was being undermined by a lack a direction from his superiors and by limiting his ability to travel. Mr. Smith was previously under an internal investigation by the Company for an undisclosed reason and while resolved, which caused Mr. Smith to state to other co-workers that he feels that other people in the organization were out to get him and stated that they were lucky that I dont have a gun with me. This photograph was in the Company lobby 25. 25 Would you be Concerned? 26. 26 What did we do? Met with Company Officials and learned: Company had no anti-harassment policies Company had no emergency plan No WPV prevention program No access control policies - open office Subject was already angry with Management Met with local PD Advised PD of situation Learned that subject had no local contacts / arrests No FOID card Arranged for Extra Watch on the Facility during the termination. 27. 27 What did we do? Met with the Individual in a controlled enviornment Assessed his current emotional condition & allowed him to vent Explained that his former company had arranged Outplacement services for him Escorted him out of facility and off company property Followed up with him later that day and on subsequent days to insure that his emotions and actions were directed towards positive goals Had him work extensively with a career coach During times when he regressed back to anger at the Company, we re-focused his vision on the future. 28. 28 What was the Outcome? Client was provided with a professionally written resume, worked with a coach for a intensive 2-day training program, utilized office space provided by outplacement firm. Client successful disengaged from his former employer after working with a coach for approx. 3 months. Client formed his own consulting firm and has actually referred sales leads back to his former employer. Anti-climactic? Absolutely! Good Company Policy? No violence, other employees saw that he was treated well, no negative effect on Brand 29. 29 Case Study #2 In this case, Paul Calden, a former claims administrator with Firemens Fund Insurance Co. shot five employees, (all were executives or supervisors), killing three, before killing himself. Just prior to the shooting, Calden reportedly told the victims "This is what you get for firing me." Relatives of the deceased sued Caldens former employer Allstate for giving Firemens standard job reference on Calden, violating the Duty of Care Standard that had not previously been defined. The families claimed that Allstate had a duty to disclose the former employees problems during a job reference interview (i.e., Background Check conducted by Firemans Fund prior to employment). The incident happened 8 months after Calden was terminated from Allstate. 30. 30 Case Study #2 Do you think that the HR Dept. at Allstate, (Caldens former place of employment), knew that he had: Brought a gun to work? Believed he was an alien, Refused to have his picture taken? or Wrote the word blood next to the names of his co-workers? This case was settled out of court for a reported $50 MILLION 31. 31 How can we in HR address WPV? 80 / 20 Rule 80% of the problems are caused by 20% of the employees. HR is uniquely positioned to know this 20% Population intimately performance problems harassment of other employees you know the problem employees you know the managers Are in a position to provide intervention (counseling / EAP) 32. 32 You May Already Know Them Characteristics of Potential WPV Offender Typically Male (sorry, all you violent ladies) Low self-esteem (may be masked Bravado Attitude) People that attempt to make themselves feel better by putting others down Feel unfairly treated Either real or imagined grievances (They are all real to that person) May have problems relating with others Blames others Unable to accept responsibility for their own actions Past history of performance / behavioral problems (excessive tardiness, decreased productivity, co-worker complaints) May be ostracized from the group May exhibit unusual level of interest in past acts of violence Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech Shooter) wrote & submitted prolific plays and other works of fiction vividly describing his violent ideations. May be fascinated with guns or other weapons Cho spent several months amass


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