It’s reasonable to argue that no rational company owner would recruit someone with homicidal inclinations on purpose. Nonetheless, murder remains the fourth-leading cause of fatal workplace injuries, according to the National Health and Safety Administration. Here are three ideas to make your workplace safe while still complying with federal employment requirements.
1.Maintain a zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence.
Create a formalised programme for violence prevention and personal safety training and include it in your employee handbook. Ensure that your managers investigate any actions or threats of violence or harassment. Also, regardless of whether anybody else takes an employee’s threat of violence seriously, respond swiftly. Because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, suspend the employee (with pay) while you investigate to avoid a “adverse action” claim from the employee.
2.Consistently enforce your zero-tolerance policy.
Workplace safety is a valid corporate justification to fire an employee who presents a direct hazard to health or safety. Threats of violence are a valid, non-discriminatory justification for terminating an employee under federal law, and workers who threaten violence cannot shield themselves because they belong to a protected class or have participated in protected behaviour. Employees who are mentally ill and a risk to their coworkers, customers, or the broader public are not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
An employer must do an individualised evaluation of an employee’s current capacity to safely execute critical work responsibilities in order to establish if someone offers a considerable risk of violence. A determination that a person is a direct danger should be based on a reasonable medical judgement based on the most recent medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence. Under relevant rules, the length of the risk, the kind and severity of the possible damage, the chance that the potential harm will occur, and the imminence of the potential harm should all be evaluated.
3. Review OSHA regulations.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has produced voluntary guidelines and suggestions for companies trying to lessen the risk of workplace violence, but no obligatory requirements have been enacted. Although the recommendations are geared at health care employees, they contain numerous practical ideas for all businesses, such as training, investigations, and checklists of workplace safety aspects.
Finally, consider hiring an attorney to help you create, evaluate, and execute a workplace safety policy that includes a compliant response to workplace violence threats.