Lic # PPO 14788 / PI 21463 866.678-4408
A Division of
National Business Investigations, Inc.
Prevent Work... Lic # PPO 14788 / PI 21463 866.678-4408
A Division of
National Business Investigations, Inc.
employees ar...
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Prevent Workplace Violence

Published on: Mar 4, 2016

Transcripts - Prevent Workplace Violence

  • 1. Lic # PPO 14788 / PI 21463 866.678-4408 A Division of National Business Investigations, Inc. Prevent Workplace Violence One doesn't have to look very hard to uncover the tragedy that workplace violence has become in our country. Stories of guns and murder in the workplace frequent the national news headlines and garner considerable attention from the public. But workplace violence is more common than most might think, as there are many more acts that occur that simply don't rise to the level of breaking news. For every national story, hundreds of assaults and threats of violence occur that aren't reported but that still have a major impact on business. While it's true that workplace violence is an unfortunate reality, it's a reality that can be greatly mitigated. And for companies to have a significant role in reducing the risk of a workplace violence scenario, they must get educated on both the signs that such an event is likely to occur and what to do about it. Overt vs. Covert Threats Threats can be either overt or covert. What is the difference?  Overt — A direct threat is made, such as, "I'm going to burn this place to the ground!" While the person making this type of statement might be serious or simply blowing off steam, such a threat must always be taken seriously.  Covert — No literal threat is made, but the person might make statements such as, "I want you to know that I hold you personally responsible for my family's financial problems." While not a direct threat, this type of statement goes to illustrate the mindset of the person and should be taken just as seriously. Covert threats can often be overlooked, but they also can be an indicator of a deeper level of disturbance. Surprisingly, covert threats turn into real incidents more often than overt ones It starts with education To prevent violence in the workplace, companies can take proactive steps, beginning with education that helps employees learn what signs to look for in various scenarios. And while it's important to include HR staff and managers with direct reports, it's just as important to educate all employees, as peers will often be witness to signs that don't appear outside of coworker circles. When signs that a workplace violence event might take place are evident, it's also critical for those same employees to have a means to communicate with management so action can be taken. In this regard, it's important that a clearly established communications procedure be in place and that all
  • 2. Lic # PPO 14788 / PI 21463 866.678-4408 A Division of National Business Investigations, Inc. employees are briefed on it. It's also recommended that an independent, third party anonymous tip line be established, which affords protection for those wishing to come forward. It also increases the likelihood that employees will come forward, since they'll take comfort in knowing their identity is being kept safe. Dealing with a threat If a threat is actually made in the workplace, whether it's overt or covert, the company must take action to protect its employees. Unfortunately, while law enforcement should be notified of any suspicions, police are a reactive force and are not set up to provide protection to prevent workplace violence. In this scenario, a threat evaluation must take place by a third party that has experience in such matters. And, if warranted, protective agents should be assigned to thwart any potential acts of violence. The period of engagement with protective agents depends on each case, but often the first four to five days following a threat are the most critical. And for those managers who are looking at the expense of enacting such measures, they should consider the cost of doing nothing if violence erupts. While the cost of hiring protective agents may be considerable, the cost of inaction is incalculable. Post violence Should an act of violence take place, a company will have to deal with a variety of issues, which can range from potential lawsuits, public relations issues and tumbling stock prices, to reduced morale, diminished productivity and loss of revenue. In addition to grief counselors and workplace psychologists, this is where on-site protective agents still play a critical role. One of the most important areas for employers to consider when dealing with a post-workplace violence incident is the employees’ peace of mind. Protective agents can facilitate that by their very presence, offering reassurance that a future act is unlikely. An ounce of prevention The best defense against workplace violence is prevention. And in this regard, the two key steps an employer can take in order to prevent a workplace violence scenario are 1) Educating employees and staff; and 2) Establishing a relationship with a protective agency that can be on-call and ready to respond immediately should the need arise. The potential for workplace violence is a real and serious problem. Don't take chances with the safety of your most valuable asset… your people. Michael Julian is the President of MPS Security, a division of National Business Investigations, Inc. and is a 2nd generation Private Investigator and Executive Protection Specialist with nearly three decades in the investigation and security industries. Mr. Julian formerly served as President of the California Association of Licensed Investigators and is graduate of the Executive Protection Institute. He frequently teaches and presents on investigative methods and workplace violence prevention, mitigation and reaction to corporate clients, colleges, trade schools and investigation and security associations. He can be reached at

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