2021Workplace Violence
Stop Workplace Violence

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

In the latest tragic case of workplace violence, officials reported the suspect in a shooting that killed one person at a Kroger grocery store in Collierville, Tennessee, was asked to leave his job as a “third-party vendor” working inside the store on the morning of the incident, according to a media release from Collierville Police Department.

The suspected shooter – who also wounded 14 people and was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound – “was a third-party vendor working inside Kroger and was asked to leave his job the morning of Thursday, September 23, 2021,” the statement read, adding that the suspect moved to Collierville in 2020.

“The Town of Collierville met with Kroger officials today to discuss next steps involving employee and community support regarding mental well-being to relief funding. The Collierville Police Department is in the process of setting up critical stress debriefing for all employees involved in the incident,” the statement explained.

“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 worksite” and “ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide.”

Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), has written a white paper entitled “Workplace Violence and Human Resources: A Brief Introduction” to highlight action items Human Resources (HR) and employers may consider to help prevent workplace violence.

“With horrendous incidents of workplace violence back in the news, it is an opportune time for HR to explore solutions and risks in case it ever hits their workplace. Should it strike, many employers and HR professionals can find themselves unprepared for the fallout,” wrote Rosen, the author of “The Safe Hiring Manual.”

Rosen identified certain concerning behaviors that can be “Red Flags” that employers need to be aware of to ensure that a workplace is safe and not toxic. Examples of such behaviors may include excessive use of alcohol or drugs, excessive talk about weapons at work in a threatening way, and overreaction to criticism or evaluations.

“Workers should be able to report such observations to management anonymously so that an HR professional or manager would be able to evaluate if any action is needed. However, that means an employer must make certain managers are trained in the area and that the company culture takes such reports seriously,” wrote Rosen.

“The bottom line is that all employers need to make sure they have a safe and healthy workplace, where everyone is respected and valued. That includes a zero-tolerance policy for any sort of behavior that creates disruption or intimidation and early intervention when a potential problem is identified,” Rosen concluded.

Rosen was the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), served as its first co-chair, and received the PBSA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. The white paper is at https://info.esrcheck.com/resources/white-paper/workplace-violence-and-human-resources.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm ranked the number one screening firm by HRO Today in 2020 – offers employers and HR professionals background screening services to help them prevent problems such as workplace violence. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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