Workplaces should be safe environments where we can apply ourselves to expand our careers. Workplaces can even be fun when getting to know and conversing with co-workers. Yet, from time-to-time, outside factors such as stress, personal history, or even differences of opinion can cause coworkers to potentially become violent toward one another.
These are scary scenarios, but if you are aware of the warning signs and know how to de-escalate the situation your chances of a positive outcome are far greater.
First, let’s cover the four (4) common forms of workplace violence:
- Physical abuse – assaulting someone else
- Verbal abuse – foul, mean or discriminatory language
- Sexual abuse – inappropriate comments or touching in a sexual manner
- Emotional abuse – nonphysical behavior or comments intended to put down a co-worker or make them feel threatened
Each of these are forms of workplace violence. Do not get confused, each of these are serious offenses that are completely inappropriate in any office environment.
Recognizing Warning Signs
To mitigate workplace violence, it’s important to know some common traits. These can include an increase in drugs and alcohol consumption, decreased attention to personal hygiene, mood swings and an increase in unprovoked anger. More serious warning signs include, increased (unprompted) talk about weapons or firearms, paranoid behavior, and talk of suicide or preparing for death. In extreme cases, calling the local police department may be warranted if the situation quickly escalates out of control.
CMC has a zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence. Reports of verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse will be documented and investigated. We ask that all staff remain vigilant and report potentially harmful or self-destructive behavior promptly. We hope these occurrences never happen within the walls of any CMC location. But, knowing the warning signs and what to do in the event of workplace violence can help us all navigate the situation to the best of our abilities.