House Subcommittee Examines Effect of Workplace Violence on Organizations

Story Filed: Wednesday, September 25, 2002 3:01 PM EST

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sep 25, 2002 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- A member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) will testify on behalf of the Society at a subcommittee hearing of the House Education and the Workforce Committee on Emerging Trends in Employment and Labor Law: Examining the Need for Greater Workplace Security and the Control of Workplace Violence. The Employer- Employee Relations Subcommittee hearing will be held Thursday, September 26 at 10:30 AM.

Attorney and SHRM member Rebecca A. Speer, principal of Speer Associates/Workplace Counsel, will testify before the subcommittee. Speer Associates is a San Francisco-based firm that provides services to employers to prevent workplace violence. Speer has consulted with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as well as corporations and public-sector organizations in designing critical incident response programs on workplace violence. "Beyond homicide—beyond the headline events—lie millions of incidents of non-fatal workplace violence. These incidents consist of non- fatal assaults, threats, aggressive harassment, stalking, and other conduct that create a reasonable fear for physical safety. According to the Department of Justice, 1.7 million employees fall victim to reported, non- fatal violent crime on the job each year. Eighteen percent of all violent crimes that occur annually in the U.S. are committed at work. Many more incidents go unreported," Speer said.

Workplace violence is a leading concern for all organizations, which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is the third leading cause of death in the workplace. According to a recent SHRM/ eePulse survey released one year following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., 52 percent of organizations have put higher security provisions in place to improve workplace security. These enhanced security provisions have included such initiatives as employee and management training, adding 24-hour security personnel, installing surveillance cameras and additional lighting in public locations, and providing counseling resources through Employee Assistance Programs to victims of workplace violence.

According to the 1999 SHRM Workplace Violence Survey, organizations with More than 250 employees were more likely (78%) to report a violent episode at the workplace as opposed to smaller businesses (48%). Family, marital or Personal relationship problems influence more than 36% of violent acts in the workplace. The majority of workplace violence episodes are verbal threats (41%) followed by pushing and shoving (19%); robbery (9%); fistfights (9%); stalking (9%); bomb threats (7%); shooting (1%); and stabbing (1%). Contact the Society for Human Resource Management for additional information or interviews on workplace violence and security issues. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 170,000 individual members, the Society’s mission is both to serve human resource management professionals and to advance the profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM currently has more than 500 affiliated chapters within the United States and members in more than 120 countries. Visit SHRM Online at .