The Unlucky 13 - Early Warning Signs of Potential Violence at Work

1. Threats: Person makes direct, veiled or conditional threats of harm.

2. Unreasonable; Person constantly makes slighting references to others. He is never happy with what is going on. He is consistently unreasonable and over reacts to feedback or criticism. He blows everything out of proportion. He is unable to accept criticism of job performance, has a tendency to take comments personally and turns it into a grudge.

3. Intimidation and Control Oriented; Person feels a need to constantly force their opinion on others. He has a compulsive need to control others. He uses intimidation of others to get his way (can be physical or verbal intimidation).e.g., fear tactics, threats, harassing behaviors including phone calls, stalking, etc.

4. Paranoid; Person thinks other employees are out to get them. She thinks there is a conspiracy to all functions of society. She feels persecuted, or victim of injustice.

5. Irresponsible; Person doesn’t take responsibility for any of their behaviors or faults or mistakes, it's always someone else's fault. Employee does not accept responsibility for own actions, makes excuses, blames others, the company, the system for problems, errors and disruptive behaviors, etc.

6. Angry, Argumentative & Confrontive; Person has many hate and anger issues on and off the job with co-workers, family, friends, or the government. He is frequently involved in confrontations, belligerent and arguments with others including supervisors, co-workers, neighbors, etc. He has low impulse control, frequently involved in arguments and altercations, physically slams things, doors, etc., pounds fist or verbally demonstrative, uses inappropriate language.

7. Violence Fascination and Acceptance; Person applauds certain violent acts portrayed in the media such as racial incidences, domestic violence, shooting sprees, executions etc. He may have had trouble with the law, even just a minor incident. He is fascinated with the killing power of weapons and their destructive effect on people coupled with extreme interest in guns, particularly semi-automatic or automatic weapons.

8. Vindictive; Person makes statements like "he will get his" or "what comes around goes around" or "one of these days I'll have my say". She often verbalizes hope for something to happen to the person against whom the employee has a grudge.

9. Bizarre Behavior: Person is quirky, strange; considered weird and behaves in unusual manner; their presence makes others feel uneasy and uncomfortable;

10. Desperation: Person expresses extreme desperation over recent family, financial or personal problems.

11. Obsessions: Person has obsessive involvement with the job, particularly when no apparent outside interests exist. He has a romantic obsession with co-worker who has no interest in him. He suffers from other forms of obsessions.

12. Substance Abuse: Person has signs of alcohol and/or drug abuse.

13. Depression: Person displays chronic signs of depression, loss of interest and confident in life or work, is lethargic, lacks energy, particularly when this is a significant change in behavior.

© National Institute for Prevention of Workplace Violence, Inc.


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