Workplace violence is any behavior that: (a) can reasonably be perceived as hostile and has the potential of resulting in personal injury to others (physical and/or emotional) or damage to property; or (b) actually results in personal injury or property damage. It often starts with fear and intimidation and then escalates into threats and/or actual attacks.
Level 1 – Fear and Intimidation
An atmosphere of fear, intimidation, and extreme discomfort is created by a pattern of verbally abusive, hostile, or “creepy” behavior:
- Often shouts and raises voice.
- Is frequently argumentative, belligerent, or resentful.
- Swears excessively, especially at others.
- Is insubordinate or refuses to follow instructions.
- Frequently loses temper or has outbursts of anger.
- Frequently acts irrationally and unpredictably.
- Engages in malicious or vicious gossip.
- Has habit of making mean-spirited comments to and about others.
- Engages in excessive verbal abuse or bullying.
- Is extremely controlling and domineering.
Level 2 – Threats
Violence is threatened or the perception of a threat is created:
- Proudly discusses his/her past acts of violence and/or crimes.
- Fascinated by, obsessed with, or frequently discusses weapons.
- Actually threatens to hurt self, others or damage property (orally or in writing).
- Verbalizes desire to hurt others or damage property (orally or in writing).
- Stalks, follows, or spies on others.
- Constantly blames others for his/her own problems and wants to “get even”.
- Steals or sabotages property.
- Is under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.
- Expresses desire for revenge against those who have allegedly wronged him/her.
- Assumes a fighting physical stance or wields an object in a threatening way that could be used as a weapon
Level 3 – Attacks
Actual physical violence occurs or is extremely like to occur:
- Pounds or kicks things (doors, walls, furniture, etc.).
- Throws things.
- Grabs, squeezes, pinches or scratches others.
- Restrains, confines, or restricts movement of another person.
- Pushes, shoves, slaps, hits, kicks, beats, or engages in physical fights.
- Displays or uses a weapon or claims to have one at work.
- Destroys, damages, or sabotages property on purpose.
- Commits arson, bombing, poisoning, robbery, or kidnapping/abduction.
- Sexually assaults or rapes.
- Murders or kills.