Recent violence in the workplace on a mass scale in San Bernardino, CA has had traumatic effects on the psyche of our country. Sadly, these shootings seem to be taking place so often we are almost numb to hearing the news.
Husband and wife terrorist killers Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik wore black tactical gear and used assault rifles to kill 14 people and seriously injure 22 people at a social service where Farook worked. He had attended the workplace event normally at first, but later slipped away and returned armed and dressed in black.
In this case, with the couples’ alleged affiliation with extremists, the lines between terrorism and violence in the workplace have been blurred. However, it is yet another example of a worst-case scenario that can occur when a less than ideal employee is brought on board.
Another recent and very public instance of gun violence in the workplace occurred when two journalists were killed while on the air. Reporter Alison Parker and camera operator Adam Ward were fatally shot by a co-worker who was frustrated about racial and other issues.
An average of 700 people per year are murdered at their workplace in America. That’s nearly two per day, according to federal statistics. This number doesn’t account for the violent attacks that don’t result in death; for example, in the year 2009, 572,000 adults were attacked in some physical way while at work, the Bureau of Justice reports.
The Many Forms That Violence In The Workplace Can Take
Some estimate that the actual number of workplace violence is even higher, as more minor incidents may never be reported; the Occupational Health and Safety Administration estimates millions of workers per year are likely impacted by violence in the workplace. From physical assaults to verbal abuse to the worst-case scenario of murder, the sad truth is that violence in the workplace seems to be increasing.
The most common workplace problems of this nature are intimidation, bullying and threats, and these emotional forms of violence are far less reported and publicized than those involving guns. However, it doesn’t mean that lasting damage isn’t done. Also, the stereotype is that all violence in the workplace is committed by persons who are disgruntled with their treatment. However, sometimes violence in the workplace is fueled by an issue unrelated to work such as a personal situation at home.
Pre-employment background checks including criminal background checks are powerful ways to find out more about an applicant’s history and create a safer workplace. While humans are unpredictable, employment background checks can assist businesses in learning more about who they might be hiring.