Profiling the Lethal Employee: Case Studies of Violence in the Workplace. By Michael D. Kelleher; published by Praeger
Publishers, 800/225-5800 (phone), 203/222-1502 (fax); 155 pages; $55.
In writing this book, Michael D. Kelleher sounds another clarion call to the security industry and the corporate world about the
simmering threat of violence in the workplace. Profiling the potential workplace killer, Kelleher focuses on statistics and case studies.
Employee homicide, he points out, represents a full 20 percent of deaths in the American workplace, a fact that rivets the reader's
attention from the onset.
This book, targeted to a widespread managerial audience, shows that workplace violence is severe and increasing. But that's just a
backdrop to the focus of this book: recognizing the lethal employee, intervening before an angry worker turns violent, and preventing
violence in the workplace through a variety of methods such as staff training.
The meat of the book is in the case studies of employee violence, which are vivid and highly detailed. In fact, these case studies set
the book apart from other literature. In thirteen extensive case studies, factors such as obsession, job stress, depression, drug abuse,
and previous violence are discussed as triggering elements or typical predictors of workplace violence.
In every case study depicted here, an argument or termination was the catalyst for workplace violence. To assuage potentially
inflammatory situations before they erupt, Kelleher presents a formula for treating the employee with respect and consideration, even
if the problem can only be settled via termination. Kelleher's techniques are designed to prevent the employee from feeling stranded
with no alternatives. Management is prompted to enact measures that will dignify the employee as a person. In sum, the author
suggests a kinder, gentler approach to counseling.
Reviewer: Joseph A. Reilly, CPP, is the director of internal audit, Liquidation Bureau, New York State Insurance Department.
Following twenty years in the New York City Police Department, he has been in private security for sixteen years. He is a member