Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
A mass shooting at a light rail yard in San Jose, California, by a Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) employee that took the lives of nine co-workers on May 26, 2021, in yet another tragic case of workplace violence is “the latest in a spate of shootings that have struck essential workers in the U.S.,” according to a report from CNN.
CNN reported that the gunman had been identified as Samuel Cassidy, who investigators believe took his own life after the shooting, and “the victims and all the colleagues knew the shooter well.” The victims and the shooter worked at the VTA, a public transit service that operates bus and light rail services in the Santa Clara Valley.
While a motive for the shooting is still unclear, CNN reported that Cassidy’s ex-wife told CNN affiliate the Bay Area News Group that her ex-husband “resented his work,” “often spoke angrily about his co-workers and bosses,” “resented what he saw as unfair work assignments,” and “would rant about his job when he got home.”
The shooting in San Jose is the latest case of workplace violence striking essential workers who kept working during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2021, eight people were killed at a FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. In March 2021, ten people – including employees – were killed at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.
According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) released annually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 5,333 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2019, a 2 percent increase from the 5,250 fatal work injuries in 2018, and 454 of the fatal work injuries in 2019 were homicides.
“Workplace violence” is defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site” and “ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide.”
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider named the number one background screening firm by HRO Today in 2020 – offers background screening services to may help employers reduce issues that can lead to workplace violence. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.
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