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Dealing with Violence in the Workplace: Causes of ViolenceC┬│mo encarar la violencia en el trabajo: Causas de la violencia

Dealing with Violence in the Workplace: Causes of Violence


An employee whose identity is closely tied to his or her job may feel personally and financially threatened if the job seems at risk. If the employee also has emotional or family problems, workplace conflicts may take on even greater importance. The employee may feel like a victim, and may eventually believe violence is the only response.

Red Flags

Violent behavior is more likely to occur when a person is faced with several stressful situations, such as a combination of those listed below.

  • A company merger, a job termination or layoff, or a change in job duties

  • Significant losses, such as divorce, death, a drop in social position, or a demotion at work

  • A holiday season or money problems

If Violence Strikes...

If you see warning signs of violence, respond immediately. Inviting discussion builds trust. In addition, it may solve problems caused by a lack of understanding between employees of different cultures. Also, learn your employer's policies on handling violence. Find out who to contact and what to do if violence does occur.


Defuse Anger

Problem solving may reduce an employee's anger and improve the work situation. After a cooling-off period, invite the employee to talk. Focus on the problem and look for an answer together. Treat your coworker with respect. Don't get defensive or sarcastic.


Stop the Action

Don't put yourself in a position to be injured. If a fistfight is in progress, yell to break it up. Call internal security if this doesn't work. Report any act of aggression, including threats and rumors, to your supervisor.


Seek Safety and Get Help

If a situation appears life-threatening and you can safely exit the building, get out and call for help. Dial 911 or your local emergency number. If you can't get out and an armed assault is under way, seek protective cover. Call for help if you can.

Date Last Reviewed:

Date Last Modified: 2002-07-09T08:38:51-06:00



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