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Top Tips Part II – Perpetrators and Triggers of Workplace Violence

Everyone has the capacity to become angry, regardless of gender, race, national origin, age, or religion.  However, not everyone will act out their anger in a violent way.  However, most workplace violence is committed by people we know or have a connection to the workplace, not by strangers who just walk in off the street.

Categories of Perpetrators

Workplace Violence Committed By

Estimated Percentage

Current or Former Employees

(Disgruntled Employee Situation)


Current or Former Spouses, Lovers, Friends or Family of Current or Former Employees

(Domestic Violence Situation)


Customers or Clients

(Business Connection Situation)



(Unknown Criminal Situation)


General Profile of Perpetrators

  1. History of violence (most accurate predictor) toward women, children, animals
  2. More likely to be male, but not always
  3. Age 35 or older, but not always and may be trending lower
  4. Owns a weapon
  5. Self-esteem is strongly tied to his/her job
  6. Has minimal outside interests
  7. Likely to be withdrawn or a loner
  8. Tends to blame others/external factors for life disappointments
  9. High probability of having a military history
  10. Has substance abuse or mental/emotional health problems

Triggers or Causes of Workplace Violence

  1. Personality conflicts
  2. Family/marital problems
  3. Drug/alcohol use or abuse
  4. Psychological/emotional problems
  5. Stress in general, particularly extreme or multiple stressors
  6. Job disappointment (e.g., loss of job, disciplinary action, poor performance review, demotion, bullying by co-workers, ostracized by co-workers)