How Common Is Violence in the Workplace?

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By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on January 28, 2016 1:05 PM

Everybody gets irritable about work sometimes. No matter how awesome a job might be, all jobs have some annoying aspects. That said, not all of us respond to stress the same way. We don't all go postal, as the saying goes.

So just how common is workplace violence? The US Department of Labor (DOL) says it is "a frustrating problem facing Federal agencies today" with "staggering costs." And the numbers that the agency cites might shock you.

The DOL's figures

Every year, about 2 million people around the country are victims of non-fatal violence at work, the DOL says. Officials at the Department of Justice have found violence to be a leading cause of fatal injuries at work with about 1,000 workplace homicides each year.

"It is impossible to overstate the costs of workplace violence, because a single incident can have sweeping repercussions," writes the DOL. The violence touches many more people than just the victims. There are the physical or psychological repercussions felt by the victims and family, friends, and co-workers; the loss of productivity and morale in an organization after a violent incident; and the public relations impact on an employer.

Workplace violence affects other areas as well, says the DOL. The adverse impact on organizations and individuals is wide-ranging and, according to the agency, can include the following:

  • Absence of Skilled Employees
  • Psychological Damage
  • Property Damage, Theft, and Sabotage
  • Productivity Impediments
  • Diversion of Management Resource
  • Increased Security Costs
  • Increased Workers' Compensation Costs
  • Increased Personnel Costs

Who Commits These Crimes?

The DOL warns against trying to isolate violent types, or making snap judgments about who is about to snap. The agency writes, "There are many theories about the causes of workplace violence. However, caution should be taken when profiling or stereotyping individuals or organizations."

Consult With Counsel

If you have been accused of workplace violence or any other crime, consult with a criminal defense attorney. Many lawyers consult for free or no fee and can provide helpful guidance.

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