Workplace physical, verbal, or psychological threats can severely impact employees’ morale, productivity, and well-being. Both employers and employees must recognize, address, and prevent these threats to ensure a safe and harmonious work environment. This blog post aims to provide practical strategies for dealing with them.
Recognize the Threat
Before you can address the issue, you need to recognize it. Workplace threats can be:
- Physical: Violence or threat of violence, property damage.
- Verbal: insults or abusive language.
- Psychological: Bullying, intimidation, sexual harassment, or manipulation.
Do Not Engage
If you are faced with an immediate threat:
- Do not retaliate.
- Prioritize your safety and the safety of those around you.
- Remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible.
Maintain a record of the threat, including:
- Date and time of occurrence.
- Nature of the danger.
- Witnesses, if any.
- Any prior incidents or patterns.
- Save any relevant emails, text messages, or voice mails.
Report the Threat
Always report it to your immediate supervisor, the Human Resources department, and the security team if your organization has one.
If the threat is criminal, contact the police.
Talk to trusted colleagues or friends about the situation.
Consider seeking counseling if the threat has impacted your well-being.
See if your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program and what that entails.
Understand Your Rights
Familiarize yourself with workplace policies and procedures.
Understand your legal rights. In Ohio, employers are legally obliged to provide a safe working environment for all employees.
Consult with a lawyer if your reports are ignored.
Prevention is Key
- Implement strict anti-harassment and violence policies.
- Offer training programs on conflict resolution, communication, and workplace behavior.
- Encourage an open-door policy where employees can discuss concerns without fear of retaliation.
- Conduct regular workplace assessments to identify and mitigate potential threats.
- Have the proper physical security in place to protect access to the workplace.
- Provide employees with an anonymous hotline to report incidents.
- Attend training sessions offered by the employer.
- Be aware of your surroundings and any changes in your colleague’s behaviors.
- Foster positive relationships with coworkers.
- Overall, trust your gut instinct. If a person has a known violent past or a minor incident immediately sets them off, contact professional security consultants and law enforcement directly.
A safe workplace is a collective responsibility. Employers must provide the necessary tools and environments for employees to feel safe, and employees must be vigilant and proactive in reporting and addressing threats. By working together, you can create workspaces where everyone thrives.
“Aggression and violence in the workplace is on the increase for most companies that fail to recognize and be PROACTIVE about it.”Timothy Dimoff, President of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services
Deal with Employee Threats Before They Escalate
As a former law enforcement officer, Tim Dimoff applies his firsthand experience with aggressive and violent perpetrators to business operations best practices. Aggressive violence and behavior only decrease when not invited into the workplace. Protect your business by learning practical techniques and procedures to address employee threats before it’s too late. Contact Tim to schedule his Dealing with Employee Threats presentation today.