Workplace Violence


Stop Workplace Violence

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On February 15, 2019, five employees were shot and killed at a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois by a worker who was being fired, an incident highlighting the dangers Human Resource (HR) professionals can face from workplace violence, according to an article from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Dangers HR Faces from Workplace Violence

The SHRM article “A Workplace Shooting Is Every HR Professional’s Fear” notes that an HR manager and an HR intern were among the five employees killed in the warehouse shooting incident and asks how can HR professionals and others in the workplaces of America protect themselves from workplace violence.

Gary Martin, an employee at the Henry Pratt Company for 15 years, took a gun to work that he should not have been able to own due to a felony conviction and killed five co-workers during a termination meeting, then wounded five police officers and was killed in a gunfight, according to an Associated Press (AP) report.

The New York Times reported that Martin’s employer was unaware of his prior felony conviction since it was not uncovered in a background check. SHRM suggests that all employers need a workplace violence plan to protect HR professionals in the event they are terminating someone who may become violent.

SHRM – the world’s largest HR professional society representing 300,000 members in more than 165 countries – offers a resource page on workplace violence for members who seek guidance on making workplaces safer and making sure workers know how to stay safe in the face of the threat of workplace violence.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – a federal agency that works to assure safe and healthful working conditions for workers – defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.”

Nearly two million American workers report being victims of workplace violence each year but many cases go unreported, according to OSHA. There were 458 workplace homicides across the nation in 2017, with 351 of those being intentional shootings by another person, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures.

More Information about Workplace Violence from ESR

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – can help employers implement a safe hiring program to reduce issues that can lead to workplace violence. To read more ESR News blogs about workplace violence, visit

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