Apr 30 2013

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Workplace violence in America: Frequency and effects

By Bakary Seckan

The U.S. Department of Labor defines workplace violence as “any threat or act of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at [a] worksite.” The FBI further separates workplace violence into four categories based on victim-perpetrator relationship. These depend on whether a perpetrator: has no prior relation to an establishment or its employees (Type I); is a patron of an establishment (Type II); is a current or former employee (Type III); or is having a personal relationship with an employee (Type IV). The issue of workplace violence became a subject of media attention after the series of post office murders which occurred throughout the 1980s and 90s. While incidents of these mass shootings are rare, the impact of non fatal instances of workplace violence is significant, with the FBI estimating in 2011 that occurrences of workplace violence “cost the American workforce approximately $36 billion per year.”

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