Monday, September 13, 2010

Workplace Shootings - Did we do Enough - What is Enough?

If you are working in human resources you are undoubtedly familiar with bullying in the workplace. When bullying graduates, it can turn into violence in the workplace – beatings, shooting and killings. We saw this play out again on 9/9/2010 in a Kraft Plant in Philadelphia,

This comes on the heels of nine fatalities  8/3/2010 shooting near Hartford, CT

Not to be brazen but these are the most two recent events that come to mind when I think about Violence in the Workplace (VITW). There are many more of these if you care to do a Google search  or two. When this happens there is someone who has committed a crime- a felony, and if the perpetrator isn’t killed, they will go to jail.

Sadly the a human resource staffer or office is targeted in these attacks, and then are assailed after the fact, by the media and local government officials for not having resolved these conditions which may have caused this employee to go berserk. HR is supposed to fix societal ills. Well that's where I think we need some guidance and assistance.

The H.R. community needs SHRM or OHSA or some leadership or government agency to step up and provide guidance on this matter. What is a reasonable level of due diligence? That is the question we need answered. Once answered then it needs to be codified of adopted or somehow put in place so that each employer or industry segment has the same cost to bear. For example if all office buildings are required to have an armed guard, then all offices will have the same cost to bear. If all retailers are required to have four video cameras in their parking lot, then that cost will be born by all those in that industry – thus keeping the playing field level and providing the employer with some feeling that they have done thier due diligence.

Employers will do what is required of them, and most will do it at a reasonable level, but after our people get shot at we sure don’t need someone in the media to assail our workplaces which they say may drive people to violent acts. We need guidance on what is reasonable.

-Dave Ryan IL SHRM Director of Socail Media