By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog Writer
In the wake of the tragic shooting spree on November 5, 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas that took the lives of 13 military personnel and wounded 32 others, the Department of Defense (DoD) is calling for more education about workplace violence as part of its final review of the recommendations from the independent report “Protecting the Force: Lessons Learned from Fort Hood,” this according to a news release on Defense.gov.
As part of the “follow-on” review final report, the DoD will place a high priority on implementing a number of recommendations to strengthen policies, programs and procedures in several areas, one of which includes “educating commanders about the symptoms of potential workplace violence and the tools available to them to address it.”
More specifically, “Recommendation 2.6 a, b: Update Policies to Address Workplace Violence” in the follow-on report states the Independent Review found that “guidance concerning workplace violence” was insufficient and that these programs “may serve as useful resources for developing more comprehensive workplace violence prevention.” As for future action to address workplace violence, the report indicates DoD policy and guidance on the prevention of workplace violence will be developed by January 2011.
The report stems from an incident in which Army Major Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, allegedly opened fire on soldiers readying for deployment at Fort Hood. He has since been charged with 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.
The report underscores the need for the DoD to to broaden its force protection policies, programs, and procedures to go beyond their traditional focus on hostile external threats. The final recommendations of the Fort Hood follow-on review can be found at: http://www.defense.gov/news/d20100820FortHoodFollowon.pdf.
Since the troubling incident at Fort Hood in November 2009, several other deadly cases of workplace violence have occurred that have garnered national media attention:
- In January 2010, an employee at a manufacturing company in Missouri involved in a lawsuit filed against the company allegedly killed three people and then shot himself.
- In February 2010, a professor supposedly upset about being denied tenure at a university in Alabama allegedly fatally shot three professors during a faculty meeting.
- In August 2010, a truck driver in Connecticut who purportedly stole from his company and resigned reportedly killed eight people and then shot himself with a handgun.
“Workplace violence” is loosely defined as threats, assaults, and violent acts – including murder – which occur in, or are related to, the workplace. All employers should consider having policies, practices, and procedures to address the subject of workplace violence.