Aug 2018

Addressing Violence in the Workplace

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorneyWhen workplace violence explodes, it leaves a trail of shattered lives. It also raises questions. Were warning signs missed? Could anything have been done to prevent the tragedy? In a touching essay, “The Day My Husband Didn’t Come Home From Work,” Jody LaVoie offers valuable insights as someone who has suffered the painful loss of a loved one to workplace violence.

LaVoie’s husband, Steve, was shot by a bitter employee who knew he was being demoted. Months later, Steve succumbed to his injuries. Besides Jody, he left behind three daughters.

Jody LaVoie writes that workplace homicides are rising – jumping an alarming 19.9 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total number of deaths was 500. Every year, 2 million American workers report they have been victims of workplace violence.

To minimize the risks of workplace violence, Jody LaVoie says employers should:

  1. Have a workplace violence policy that is shared with employees.
  2. Have and promote an employee assistance program.
  3. Host and support emotional wellness activities.
  4. Have a way to limit entrances and exits to the workplace, such as an electronic badge system.
  5. Have managers who take an active role in employee awareness, are alert to warning signs and know how to respond.
  6. Have a formal process for employee demotions and terminations.
  7. Have a system in place for employees to report threats, violence or imminent danger.
  8. Consider whether predictive behavior modeling – technology that analyzes data to generate a model that helps predict future outcomes – might be useful.
  9. Host emergency preparedness training, including active shooter training.

Unfortunately, despite workplace tragedies that make headlines on a regular basis, some employers lack the foresight to take steps that will protect their workers. Furthermore, they may continue risky work practices, such as maintaining low staffing levels that increase employee stress, or ignore warning signs, such as angry outbursts, that indicate some workers pose a threat.

If you’ve been the victim of workplace violence in Rhode Island or Southeastern Massachusetts, you are likely overwhelmed by your situation. You probably have questions about how workers’ compensation may apply to your case. Barely able to care for yourself, you may be under additional pressure from your employer or their insurance company to settle any claim for far less than you need or legally deserve.

The workers compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl have experience handling cases just like yours. They will aggressively protect your rights with professionalism and compassion. They offer free case consultations while working on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing unless they win your case.

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