Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) – which operates bus and light rail services in the Santa Clara Valley – has released documents that revealed an employee who committed a mass shooting in San Jose, California, on May 26, 2021, that killed nine co-workers in a case of workplace violence had a history of problems at work.
The documents showed the gunman, Samuel Cassidy, had a verbal altercation with a co-worker in January 2020, which was reported to a supervisor who forwarded a report to the TVA’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). In the report, another unnamed employee said about Cassidy: “He scares me. If someone was to go postal, it’d be him.”
The documents showed the OCR did not take further action except to recommend VTA management review workplace conduct and retaliation policies with Cassidy, who was sent home for insubordination in July 2019, refused to take a mandatory CPR certification in October 2020, and misused radio equipment in November 2020.
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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