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Workplace Violence Management and Consulting: A Practical and Cost-Effective Approach to Prevention, Protection, Training, De-escalation and Response

We Develop, Implement and Train on Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention and Response Plans and Programs that are uniquely functional, practical and effective

Note that our challenging economy can have a significant negative effect on workplace violence.  Such times are stressful and some people address their stress and frustration by threats or acts of workplace or domestic violence, sabotage, contamination, vandalism, theft, bomb threats, or arson.  Additionally, stress-inducing triggering events such as disciplines, terminations, facility closings, refusals of service, or lay-offs may have the effect of "tripping" threatening or violent behavior by some persons.  There is no better time to review your workplace violence and security programs to reasonably assure that you are addressing your true risks, vulnerabilities and threats. 

No canned or off-the-shelf Workplace and Domestic Violence or Harassment Program will adequately and properly address your very unique and particular risks, threats, culture, values, history, functions and budgets.  You do not have a true Workplace Violence Program if yours is composed mostly of statements of zero tolerance, banned weapons on site, and/or required reporting of threats or violent acts.  Your people will not report just because there is a policy - they must understand why, how, what and when to report.

We are often called following a workplace violence-related incident or when there is a perceived threat, and we advise as to reasonable, prudent and cost effective steps to take that meet your particular needs, values, culture, history, risks, vulnerabilities and budgets.

There are three facets of a proper workplace and domestic violence program, and yours should address each, including:

  • Violence Prevention, largely addressed by employee and supervisory training, awareness, physical and procedural security measures, counseling options and respectful leadership

  • The Mitigation and De-escalation of threatening and otherwise potentially violent behavior, to include training employees in handling confrontational and aggressive behavior and robberies; planning for the safe handling of triggering events such as terminations, disciplines, lay-offs and facility closings; and a Threat Management Team and Process to address and mitigate problematic situations

  • Crisis and Duress Response, or safely responding to the actual attack or violence situation

It is important to note that probably the most common thread found among the major workplace and domestic violence incidents was that people who knew the attacker later stated they knew the attacker was somehow unstable or threatening, and that they expected he or she would eventually cause somebody harm.  And yet they never raised their concerns to anyone who could address the escalating problem.  This can apply to "domestic spill-over" where current or former spouses or significant others threaten.  A secondary common thread was that many incidents followed a poorly handled or emotional termination, lay-off or discipline.  Therefore, it is critical to implement a WV program that will foster early reporting of intimidating or threatening behavior, will preserve dignity, and will plan for safely and securely handled triggering events such as terminations, disciplines, lay-offs, refusals of service, etc.

From recent conversations with law enforcement officials, it is clear that one of the unpleasant side effects of our weakened economy is an increase in domestic violence.  Such violence sometimes has a way of spilling over into the workplace where, in many cases, an ex or current spouse or girl/boyfriend attempt to harm the person, sometimes causing harm to them and others.  The attackers can be relations of patients/customers, contractors or  employees.  In most cases, persons such as fellow employees who knew the actual or potential victim knew that he or she was concerned over what their threatening relation might do.  If these concerns are raised to management, steps can be taken to at least better protect persons on the premises.  As with all warning signs of potential workplace violence, getting employees to recognize the warning signs and report their observations and concerns can be invaluable in planning protective and mitigating measures.

It should also be noted that many new state laws expanding rights of guns owners to bring guns onto and into workplaces means that it behooves organizations all the more to have in place a reasonable and prudent workplace violence policy that fairly addresses weapons and protects people.

Organizations that face potential threats or violence arising from cultural differences and misperceptions, including churches, charity organizations and businesses with diverse workforces, should understand how those differences can blow up and how to de-escalate and manage such situations.

We support and assist our clients in meeting the American College of Healthcare Executive (ACHE) Professional Policy Statement, "Preventing and Addressing Harassment and Aggression in the Workplace."

Our Workplace Violence Prevention and Response services are geared to your unique needs and concerns.  They may include:

  • Development or Review of Workplace and Domestic Violence Plans, Policies and Procedures

  • Development of Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Plans and Programs

  • Needs Assessments and/or Workplace Violence or Security Assessments to determine your true risks and vulnerabilities and to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of your present Workplace Violence Prevention and Response and/or Security Programs.  For more on Assessments and Surveys, please see our "Assessments" page.

  • Workplace and Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Training of employees and supervisors/managers on Workplace Violence Prevention and Response, which may include (note that such training media can be classroom, computer/web/intranet, workbook, and/or video based:

    • How to recognize early Warning Signs and Behavioral Indicators, as well as potential Triggering or Precipitating Events and Contributing Factors, of workplace violence

    • The Stages and Types of and Escalating and Evolving Nature of workplace violence - The Violence Continuum

    • Understanding the Threat of workplace and school violence - the Statistics

    • Common Threads of workplace violence

    • Discussion of potential and typical perpetrators and victims of workplace violence

    • Security Awareness, and employees', and contractors' duty to prevent workplace violence and to be protective of their workplaces and fellow employees, as well as their responsibilities under the security program

    • What To Do if threatened or harassed

    • Domestic Violence prevention considerations

    • Safe Robbery Response and Prevention

    • Safely dealing with Conflict, Confrontation and Aggressive Behavior - De-escalating, mitigating and avoiding threatening situations

    • The Responsibility to Report suspicious, threatening or other potentially hazardous or threatening situations.  Note that most persons will not report unless trained on how and why.

    • The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and other Counseling Options

    • Personal Protective and Safety Measures at home, while traveling, etc.  It can be useful to tie and relate employees' personal protection and safety to their safety and security at work.

    • The Supervisor's and Manager's specific duties under the program, including how to properly address reports of potential or actual workplace violence, planning for the potential triggering event (e.g. termination, discipline or lay-off), repercussions for retaliation, and the importance of managing the civil workplace. 

    • Development of communications materials which may include posters, flyers, memos, check inserts, etc.

    • Counter-terrorism planning

  • Support in Planning for and managing potentially problematic or disruptive situations (triggering or precipitating events) such as lay-offs, terminations, disciplines, expulsions, downsizing, strikes, demonstrations, facility closings, acquisitions/mergers, refusals of service, etc.

  • Development of a workplace violence Response, Critical Incident, and Threat or Incident Management Process to assure proper and qualified  teams/responders, protocols, investigations, tracking, remediation options, emergency notification/evacuations, law enforcement liaison, family and community communications and support, media relations, etc.

  • Development of Threat Assessment Teams (TAT) or Threat Management Teams (TMT) and processes

  • Development and Training on Sexual and Discriminatory Harassment Policies and Programs

  • Providing Support Following a Workplace Violence Incident.  Such an incident can have a detrimental, even devastating, long-term effect on morale, reputation and productivity.  We can assist in planning to prevent recurrence, eliciting feedback from employees, training, and other appropriate steps to reflect the company's or organization's concern for its people and their welfare.

  • Development of Incident and Threat Reporting, Tracking and Trending systems to identify evolving and changing risks and vulnerabilities

  • Incorporating Safety and Security into Disciplinary, Lay-off, Downsizing, Closing and Termination Procedures 

  • Development of Alternate Reporting tools such as Hotlines or an Ombudsman

  • Litigation and Workplace Violence Expert Witness Support in lawsuits involving workplace violence and in mitigating such lawsuits

  • Counter-terrorism planning

Our Workplace and School Violence services have included:

  • Assessment, Development and Training on a Workplace Violence plan for an international charity organization, a national home builder, manufacturers, a large metropolitan governmental agency, public libraries, many hospitals , retail stores, clinics, a utilities, schools and colleges, a regional transit authority, and a major airline

  • Development of a web-based WV employee training program for an international data processing firm

  • A recent web seminar presentation on WV planning as part of the "Violence at Work: Communication and Mitigation Strategies for Communicators" workshop for the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in partnership with James Lukaszewski

  • We can assist manufacturers, hospitals, schools, churches, office buildings and suites, retail stores and malls, apartment and condominium complexes, etc.

We can also help our clients meet the New York State Dept. of Labor - Division of Safety and Health - "Workplace Violence Prevention Requirements for New York State Public Employers" to include:

  • Workplace Violence Prevention evaluation or risk evaluation

  • Development of a written workplace violence prevention program

  • Training of employees and supervisors/managers on the program

Please call or write us to discuss the development of a comprehensive Workplace and Domestic Violence Prevention and Response program that will meet your culture, risks, values, needs and budgets.

We can provide a list of clients and professional references upon request.

We are located in the Midwest between Chicago, IL and Milwaukee, WI close to St. Louis, Madison, Minneapolis, Detroit, and Indianapolis, and support clients throughout North America, Europe and the world

Richard D. Sem, CSC CPP
President and Workplace Violence Consultant
Sem Security Management
2133 Ravenswood Road
Burlington, WI    53105
P:   262-862-6786
FAX:   847-589-8566

Helping you protect your people, assets, reputation and value

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