Workplace violence is a serious occupational hazard that concerns all of us. It is the fourth leading cause of occupational deaths in the United States.
Two of the most important steps an employer can take to reduce workplace violence are to (1) adopt a zero tolerance policy towards violence and (2) train the workforce about workplace violence prevention.
With proper training, employees are more apt to:
- Recognize potential threats of workplace violence
- Respond appropriately and in a timely manner
- Act to increase chances of survival
- Take advantage of available safeguards
- Minimize risk to others
An article in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin titled “Workplace Violence Prevention” [January 2011] presents the following graphic to illustrate the difference in how trained and untrained employees respond to a workplace violence incident:
Members of both groups start out with a similar reaction of startle and fear. From that point, the responses of the two groups differ. While the untrained group experiences panic that ends in helplessness, the trained group is able to muster their controlled anxiety to recall their training and then act in a way to reduce violence and maximize survival.
One of the most cost effective ways to provide training to employees is with an appropriate online eLearning course. Workplace Violence is one of the many safety courses you can learn about or preview at CDTLearning.
Sexual harassment claims have been on the rise not only in their numbers but in their overall costs.
Sexual harassment is far too common, and it has serious consequences. Studies suggest that between 40-70% of women and 10-20% of men have experienced sexual harassment in U.S. workplaces. In recent years, the rate of complaints by men have climbed as have claims of same sex harassment. However, the majority of cases are brought by women and involve men offenders.
Sexual harassment claims account for 30% of claims filed with the EEOC. Employers can be held liable for sexual harassment that occurs in the workplace regardless of whether it involves co-employees, employees and their supervisors, or even employees and non-employees.
Awards can be in the thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. In addition to the awards, employers can expect to incur many other costs such as lost work or opportunities, costs of investigating and litigating claims, and attorney fees which can include reimbursing successful claimants for their attorney fees.
Besides direct financial costs, sexual harassment erodes morale and poisons the work environment. It can lead to emotional and physical harm to those who are involved or who witness the wrongful behavior. This in turn further impacts everyone’s productivity.
Spending a fraction of these costs on training to prevent sexual harassment can be a good investment. In fact, employers cannot expect to defend against liability or mitigate punitive damages without establishing that they had a complaint procedure and provided sexual harassment prevention training to all employees. Training should instruct employees on what actions constitute sexual harassment and their right to a work environment that is free from this destructive behavior. Employees should be refreshed about the company’s complaint procedure and encouraged to use it.
CDT Micrographics offers effective and affordable online, instructor-led, print-based booklet, and ebook courses which can be customized to incorporate your company’s anti-harassment policy and complaint procedure:
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