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Could Virginia shooting happen at your workplace?

Written by Ankin Law Office

One of the first reactions to surface after reading about unthinkable workplace violence, such as the recent Virginia news station shooting, is, “that’s awful, but something like that could never happen here…”

Perhaps it is a form of denial or an emotional coping mechanism, but the reality is that anything can happen anywhere. The more prepared and proactive your company is in preventing workplace violence the less likely you and your fellow co-workers are to become unfortunate victims of the next tragic event.>

Consulting with a Workers’ Compensation attorney can help you to prevent potential workplace violence or fatal shootings, or can help you to handle the aftermath should such an event unfold at your place of business.

Experts Agree Employers Should Take Action to Prevent Workplace Shootings

The NY Times reports that analysis by psychologists, labor scholars and experts in workplace safety indicates there are security measures that can be put in place to reduce the chances of violent and/or shooting-related incidences from occurring at your place of business.

These include:

Promoting mental well-being in the workplace. Is your employer, HR departments and/or designated committees trained on how to effectively monitor employee behavior? If potentially violent or contentious employee behavior brought to the management’s attention, do they offer assistance or some form of outreach to the unstable employee? It’s your company’s job to create a safe working environment and its failure to do so can have tragic consequences.

Alert your employers to any signs of potential violence. Everyone has bad days but it was clear to many who worked with the Virginia shooter than he was an extremely volatile – often irrational – person on a more regular basis. The sooner unusual or threatening behaviors or comments are brought to the attention of management, the sooner some type of intervention can take place.

Consult with a Workers’ Compensation attorney. It might be wise to consult with an Workers’ Compensation attorney who can advise you regarding the fine lines and nuances of workers’ rights as they pertain to the Americans With Disabilities Act. While workers with mental health issues who can adequately perform their job duties must be accommodated, you do not have to tolerate any type of violent acts – or threats of violent acts – even if they are byproducts of the employee’s mental illness.

Is your employer taking the proactive measures necessary to keep you safe?

Stephen G. White, psychologist and president of Work Trauma Services Inc., likens identifying a potential workplace shooter ahead of time to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack; while it’s not always possible, proactive measures to prevent violence in the workplace can go a long way towards protecting both former and current employees.