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Top Tips Part I – Levels of Workplace Violence

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:

  1. Often shouts and raises voice.
  2. Is frequently argumentative, belligerent, or resentful.
  3. Swears excessively, especially at others.
  4. Is insubordinate or refuses to follow instructions.
  5. Frequently loses temper or has outbursts of anger.
  6. Frequently acts irrationally and unpredictably.
  7. Engages in malicious or vicious gossip.
  8. Has habit of making mean-spirited comments to and about others.
  9. Engages in excessive verbal abuse or bullying.
  10. Is extremely controlling and domineering.

Level 2 – Threats

Violence is threatened or the perception of a threat is created:

  1. Proudly discusses his/her past acts of violence and/or crimes.
  2. Fascinated by, obsessed with, or frequently discusses weapons.
  3. Actually threatens to hurt self, others or damage property (orally or in writing).
  4. Verbalizes desire to hurt others or damage property (orally or in writing).
  5. Stalks, follows, or spies on others.
  6. Constantly blames others for his/her own problems and wants to “get even”.
  7. Steals or sabotages property.
  8. Is under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.
  9. Expresses desire for revenge against those who have allegedly wronged him/her.
  10. 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:

  1. Pounds or kicks things (doors, walls, furniture, etc.).
  2. Throws things.
  3. Grabs, squeezes, pinches or scratches others.
  4. Restrains, confines, or restricts movement of another person.
  5. Pushes, shoves, slaps, hits, kicks, beats, or engages in physical fights.
  6. Displays or uses a weapon or claims to have one at work.
  7. Destroys, damages, or sabotages property on purpose.
  8. Commits arson, bombing, poisoning, robbery, or kidnapping/abduction.
  9. Sexually assaults or rapes.
  10. Murders or kills.