Category Archives: Workplace Violence

Threatening Behavior — A Mental Health Disability? Quirky Question # 132

Quirky Question # 132:

One of our employees has been very belligerent of late.  He has made comments to co-workers that were intimidating and frightening.  Some of his co-workers have considered them to be threats of violence and have reported them to our HR group.

HR investigated, corroborated the accuracy of the allegations, and confronted the employee.  He basically admitted making the statements, but attributes his behavior to some unspecified mental health disability.  We plan to terminate his employment.  Is this plan prudent? Answer→

Observations About Workplace Violence, Quirky Question # 43

Quirky Question # 43:

We are a governmental agency.  There recently was a highly publicized situation in which an employee at a company across town shot and killed his two supervisors and wounded several other employees before taking his own life.  Yesterday, one of our more problematic employees, known to have a strained relationship with his boss, was overheard remarking with regard to the workplace violence story, “Those bastards got what they deserved.”  We want to fire this guy before he acts on these kinds of thoughts here at our agency.  Are there any risks? Answer→

Quirky Question # 29, Maintaining Electronic Records

Quirky Question # 29:

Our company has offices in California.  This year we want to improve our document retention practices.  We’ve decided to maintain electronic records of personnel files.  Can we do this in California?  We were told that California law requires the records to be available at the job site.  If this is true, can we switch to an electronic database in California? Answer→

Racist Ideas, Quirky Question # 16

Quirky Question # 16:

I am both disappointed and embarrassed to report that one of our employees is an outspoken White Supremacist.  His views are abhorrent to me personally, as well as to nearly all of our company’s employees, both minority and non-minority.  The organization to which our employee belongs advocates violent conduct toward minorities.  Given that fact, should we take any action?  Can we fire this idiot?  (That’s my preference but I admit he has never engaged in any violent conduct in the workplace.)  If he ever engaged in any violent conduct in the workplace, as espoused by the organization to which he belongs, could the company be held liable? Answer→

Employee Injury, Quirky Question # 3

Quirky Question # 3:

I was called out to our company’s parking lot (we run a manufacturing facility) during a break because of a report that an employee had been injured and was bleeding outside our building.  Upon my arrival, I learned that the injured employee had created a homemade “shooting device” from a pipe, firecrackers, and ball bearings.  He was planning to show off the device to co-workers by doing some “target practice” during his break.  Unfortunately, he had the device turned backwards and he shot himself in the stomach.

How should our company respond to this situation?  What are our primary risks? Answer→