Workplace Violence: Tips on Providing a Safe Office

People in office setting

Workplace violence among employees is a threat that all companies should be aware of and work to prevent.

In 2020, workplace assaults resulted in 20,050 injuries and 392 fatalities, according to Injury Facts®. Background screening before hiring can help find warning signs and prevent employers from hiring a known threat. Sometimes, though, the employee has no prior indications of violent behavior, and the employer must quickly figure out what to do in a threatening situation.

Immediate threat

If an employee poses an immediate threat, remove them from the workplace immediately.

A safe workplace is not only an employer’s ethical responsibility; it’s a legal one. Suppose there is any sign that an employee is capable of violence in the workplace or is behaving in a way that is overly disruptive or makes other employees feel unsafe. In that case, you should immediately remove that risk. Contact the police or building security to handle the situation if necessary.

Depending on the severity of the situation, additional safety measures may need to be taken. Such as limiting access to your office building, escorting employees to cars at the end of the day, or adding security guards. 

What’s next?

After removing the immediate threat, the employer has the difficult task of determining whether to continue the worker’s employment. Various factors come into play here, including the employee’s past behavior and if their return would compromise the safety of the workplace or coworkers. The company can potentially be liable for negligent retention if keeping an employee known to be violent.

At this point, you should seek counsel from your HR rep or, in some cases, legal counsel. 

If you’ve decided to terminate the violent employee:

  • Do not conduct the termination on company premises. It may even be best to eliminate all in-person contact at this point and perform the termination via phone. 
  • Do not engage in an argument; be straightforward and respectful, and answer any questions the employee has. 
  • Do not allow the terminated employee to reenter the premises. You can ship any personal belongings to the employee’s home. Again, seek additional security if needed.

Nextep experts are ready and willing to help with all your employment needs. If you need end-to-end HR, contact us today!

Nextep Weekly Tip Signup

Also on Nextep

How do you handle employee promotions? When promoting one of your star employees to a management or supervisory position, companies should take the time to train and help the manager adjust to their new role.  An employee’s relationship with their immediate supervisor is one of the top five factors in job satisfaction, so a new […]
Read more
It should be no surprise that your employees post on social media or even blog throughout the day ─ maybe even on company time or equipment. And while they may not post on the clock, it’s unlikely that after hours they think their social media or blog posts could have consequences at work. While employers […]
Read more
The holidays can raise confusing questions on how to pay your employees, especially since there are separate rules for nonexempt and exempt employees. Here is a quick reminder on how to pay both groups during holidays. Pay for Nonexempt Employees If your business is closed for the holiday(s), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does […]
Read more
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released the “Know Your Rights” poster, which updates and replaces the previous “EEO is the Law” poster. Covered employers are required by federal law to prominently display the poster in their workplace.  DOWNLOAD POSTER What it covers The poster includes federal laws prohibiting job discrimination, as well as […]
Read more
Did you know that claims for unemployment benefits from former employees can increase your State Unemployment Tax Act (SUTA) tax rate? Managing the unemployment process can sometimes take excessive resources making it difficult for business owners to give unemployment claims the attention they require. Nextep manages this process for our PEO clients and can help […]
Read more
How to handle the SSN in the workplace The Social Security Administration has announced that an individual may now self-select their gender on their social security number (SSN) record. Previously, the sex marker would have to match medical records and other legal documentation. Now, a person can select the male or female sex designation of […]
Read more
When completing the I-9 to verify employment eligibility, you may notice that the form will expire on October 31, 2022. Usually, the government releases a new form to replace the old one. However, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced an extension to the existing form.  As […]
Read more
Should an employee clock out for a short break? What if they leave the office? Knowing the ins and outs of employee pay can be tricky, so today we’re tackling break times to help keep you in the know.  Generally, nonexempt employees do not clock out when taking short breaks of 20 minutes or less […]
Read more
Can I make my employee remove his nose piercing? Can I require dresses? What if my employee smells horrible?  These and other questions frequently arise when companies are developing effective dress codes. A thorough dress code that respects each employee’s judgment and comfort can be challenging for employers to come up with on the fly […]
Read more
A frequent and important issue employers commonly deal with is whether to classify a worker as an employee or an independent contractor.  Put simply, the difference between an employee and an independent contractor lies in who controls the work. Employee An employee works according to the company’s rules and schedule. The employee’s pay is subject […]
Read more
Get the low down on how to handle pay correctly. Should you pay your employees for working during lunch? Yes.  Easy answer! Right? Well, no. Though the simple answer is an emphatic yes, it’s a bit more nuanced.  The topic of lunch and compensable time can be tricky. There are many ways an employee could […]
Read more
An employee’s first day at a new job can set the tone for the working relationship going forward. In fact, according to research by Brandon Hall Group, organizations with a strong onboarding process can improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%. Though the employee may feel stressed or nervous, the […]
Read more

Download Our App