Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Are you a Victim of Workplace Violence?

According to the U.S. Justice Department, approximately 2 million American workers are the victims of workplace violence each year, yet strategies to prevent workplace violence are poorly understood.

Examples of Workplace Violence (Excerpt from Wayne State University policy)

  • Verbal harassment - threat to engage in violence against persons or property.
  • Physical harassment or assault - physical or sexual assaults by any means with or without a weapon.
  • Assault - hitting, pushing, kicking, holding or unlawfully impeding or blocking the movement of another person.

What should I do if confronted by a violent boss, co-worker or customer at work?

  • Leave the area and get out of harms way.
  • Report incident to Human Resources or the Police.
  • If unable to leave area; stay at a safe distance, try to calm individual, try to get attention of a co-worker so they can call the police, listen to individual and let them do most of the talking.

What is Workplace Bullying? (Excerpt from Workplace Health)

Workplace Bullying is the deliberate repeated, hurtful verbal mistreatment of a person (the Target) by a cruel perpetrator (the bully). The vast majority of bullies (over 80%) are bosses, some are co-workers and a few bully up the ladder.

Male bullies represent 50% of all bullies. When a Target is female, 46% of the time her bully is also female. Bullying, general harassment, is more prevalent than its more famous and illegal special varieties--sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

A recent reliable study estimates that approximately 1 in 5 U.S. workers has experienced destructive bullying in the past year.http://healthyliving.preferredconsumer.com/work/workplace_violence/

A Canadian study reveals that one in three employees (29%) reports experiencing verbal threats, ridicule or harassment. Intimidation and verbal threats, however, could lead to physical harm, and thousands of employees go to work in fear, as the poll shows.http://www.stopworkplaceviolence.ca/survey.html

Physical assaults are the most likely incidents to be reported to employers - 85% of the employees who suffered an assault reported it to their supervisors.

*Intimates (current and former spouses, boyfriends, and girlfriends) were identified by the victims as the perpetrators of about 1% of all workplace violent crime.

Resources for Targets/Victims:

What is Workplace Violence? http://www.stopworkplaceviolence.ca/definition.html

Victim/Target Stories: http://www.worktrauma.org/change/victim_stories.htm

Bureau of Justice Study:http://www.fas.org/irp/news/1998/07/980700-wv96.htm

Workplace Violence Report: http://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/news/pubs/special/workplace-violence/

It happens everywhere: Report from South Africa: http://www.worktrauma.org/survive_bully/survive_bully_index.htm

Bullying Regulated in Federal Workplaces in Canada:http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=e09eda8d-949f-49b0-a086-8fac6a146573

Guide for Employers: http://www.opm.gov/Employment_and_Benefits/WorkLife/OfficialDocuments/handbooksguides/WorkplaceViolence/index.asp

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