By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog
In yet another tragic case that adds to the recent rise in workplace violence incidents, a recently suspended employee who had worked at a Kraft Foods plant in Philadelphia, PA for the past 15 years is suspected of killing two co-workers while wounding a third.
According to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer, the 43-year-old woman and suspected killer allegedly returned to the plant armed with a .357 Magnum only minutes after being suspended and escorted off premises. She returned minutes later with a gun, entered the building, and went to the third-floor mixing room where she worked, and opened fire on three co-workers.
The shooter was taken into custody after a standoff by SWAT team members. The event is eerily similar to other recent workplace violence incidents occurring in the past year:
- 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.
- 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 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 addition, in the wake of the tragic shooting spree on November 5, 2009 in which an Army psychiatrist allegedly opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas and took the lives of 13 military personnel and wounded 32 others, the Department of Defense called 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.”
“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.