Total Articles: 71
Nexsen Pruet • February 27, 2019
Workplace violence, particularly violence involving a firearm, is on the rise. A recent workplace shooting in Aurora, Illinois – by an individual who opened fire during his termination meeting – is just the latest disturbing example. This individual, a middle-aged man with a history of domestic violence, killed five of his co-workers, wounded five police officers, and then turned the gun on himself. Of course, no employer can guarantee a violence-free workplace. However, by assuming that the issue is not “if” but “when,” employers can take steps to reduce the potential for onsite violence, or at least mitigate its impact.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • November 29, 2018
Dear Littler: I’m a vice president of a retail company operating in five states. While visiting one of our stores, I overheard some employees talking about their handguns. One mentioned keeping her firearm in her car, while another said he has a concealed carry permit. I don’t like the idea of firearms in the workplace at all – brought in by employees or customers. Can we create a blanket policy prohibiting all weapons anywhere on company property, including the parking lots?
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 18, 2018
Every year, nearly two million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence. Sadly, the actual number of cases is likely much higher — many cases go unreported.
XpertHR • October 02, 2018
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and domestic violence may often impact the workplace. In fact, high-profile employers have recently been propelled into the national spotlight on domestic violence issues.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • June 04, 2018
Many healthcare workers experience violence in the workplace often resulting from violent behavior by their patients, clients and/or residents. What can healthcare organizations do to improve safety and minimize the risk of workplace violence?
In the wake of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the passionate marches soon after, the topic of guns is at the forefront of many conversations. No matter what side of the gun control debate you fall on, it is clear that it is a polarizing issue. This is even more of a difficult topic for employers who have to handle the question of when, and if, to allow guns in the workplace while ensuring the safety of their employees.
Nexsen Pruet • March 14, 2018
Few topics produce more heated reactions than guns, gun violence, and the Second Amendment. For employers in North and South Carolina, this subject can be especially fraught, as both states are near or at record highs in gun ownership. Moreover, as frightening workplace and school shootings become all too frequent, customers, vendors and employees want to know whether, and to what extent, they can or should arm themselves as they go about their workday.
Ogletree Deakins • March 12, 2018
A significant number of employees are impacted by domestic violence—most frequently as victims and as relatives or friends of victims. According to recent studies and polls, 1 in 5 women in the United States is or has been involved in an abusive relationship, 44 percent of Americans say they know of someone in an abusive relationship, and 21 percent of surveyed employees report that they have been victims of domestic violence. In order to protect employees and the company, employers may want to have policies and protocols in place that create a culture where victims of domestic violence feel empowered to come forward and potential perpetrators of violence can access resources designed to help them before they act out. Employers may also want to consider the ways in which they may learn of domestic violence, what actions they can take upon learning of domestic violence, the potential risk of lawsuits resulting from adverse employment actions taken based on domestic violence, and how they can protect employees from those who might be the perpetrators of domestic violence.
Fisher Phillips • February 27, 2018
As mass shootings have continued with regular frequency in the United States, our country remains deeply divided, not only with the cause of these tragic events, but also on how to stop them from occurring. Many have called for increased gun control, including a ban on assault-style rifles like the AR-15 and universal background check requirements for all firearms transactions. Others have called for fewer restrictions on law-abiding gun owners’ ability to carry concealed firearms at their places of work and on public property, arguing that additional guns on the scene often prevent unnecessary harm.
Fisher Phillips • February 15, 2018
There is no easy solution to preventing and responding to mass shootings. (Comprehensive data on mass shootings).We should debate legal changes and provide regular employee training and drills, such as Run-Hide-Flight. However, we need to take IMMEDIATE concrete steps to minimize deaths as we wrestle with stopping these deadly events.
Fisher Phillips • January 11, 2018
What can the connection between legendary alternative rock band R.E.M. and veteran reporter Dan Rather tell us about workplace safety? Most probably didn’t even realize these two popular culture figures had anything in common, or would ever guess it relates to safety. Yet, a 1986 attack on Rather while he was walking alone to his Manhattan apartment linked the former CBS Evening News anchor to a rock band from Athens, Georgia forever, and the story might help you consider helpful techniques to protect your employees from danger.
Nexsen Pruet • September 28, 2017
On August 24, 2017, a former employee entered a popular downtown Charleston, South Carolina restaurant, killed the executive chef, and held a person hostage for several hours, before being shot and injured by the police, ending the standoff. The victim was 37 years old and left behind a wife and two young children. The former employee who is accused of murder had an extensive criminal background, including violent crime, theft, and drug charges, as well as a history of mental illness, according to media reports.
Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • August 03, 2017
Employers are reminded of a new law that was passed last year, AB 2337, that requires employers with 25 or more employees to give employees notice of their rights under Labor Code sections 230 and 230.1 to take leave and/or to accommodations related to being the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
Fisher Phillips • June 20, 2017
It’s a news headline we’ve seen too often, including several times in recent weeks: another disgruntled employee or former employee has entered the workplace and killed or injured coworkers. What can you do to minimize the chances that your workplace will suffer such a tragedy?
Goldberg Segalla LLP • June 18, 2017
The recent instances of violence in the workplace remind us of the complex task facing employers. Employers must maintain a safe work environment for employees while operating within the parameters of the many laws that protect employment interests. Reportedly, every year, approximately 2 million Americans fall victim to workplace violence.
As a series of tragic events in recent years illustrate, employers must confront the reality that they are not immune from workplace violence, including the risk of active shooter events. While that challenge may seem daunting, there are certain steps employers can and should take to ensure their workplace and their employees are protected.
Ogletree Deakins • May 05, 2017
Daily reports of incidents of domestic violence are an unfortunate reality across our nation. Recent events in San Bernardino, California, and Cookeville, Tennessee, remind us that domestic violence issues sometimes spill over into the workplace, sometimes causing loss of life and/or serious injuries. Domestic violence is defined as violence at the hands of a current or former intimate partner or family member. It is often physical violence, but just as often, it is psychological and emotional as well. Domestic violence occurs at about the same rate across all ethnic, racial, and cultural lines, and no relationship between domestic violence and educational or economic status has been established. According to one statistic, 1 in 5 women in the United States is or has been involved in an abusive relationship, and 44 percent of Americans say they know of someone in an abusive relationship.
Nexsen Pruet • February 09, 2017
For some, just the mention of those words in the same sentence brings to mind a number of horrible scenarios. Others immediately bristle at the idea of perceived infringement of “my right to own a gun.” In between those two reactions are many more that range from fear of workplace violence to balancing Constitutionally protected rights with other concerns.
Fisher Phillips • February 03, 2017
A recent rash of attacks on Uber and Lyft drivers raises questions regarding the safety of these gig economy workers. Drivers must often work under dangerous circumstances, including chauffeuring complete strangers, many of whom are intoxicated and thus need a designated driver, to unfamiliar destinations at all times of the day and night.
Fisher Phillips • January 10, 2017
After every public shooting, we discuss how to prevent and better respond to the next active shooter, but each subsequent shooting event suggests we are not acting upon knowledge gained.
XpertHR • October 20, 2016
Unfortunately, we live in a society in which domestic violence allegations surface all too often. Claims against Hollywood stars such as Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp along with incidents involving professional athletes, including Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Jose Reyes, have thrust domestic violence even into the spotlight.
Fisher Phillips • August 30, 2016
An armed gunman just entered the lobby of your hotel. He announces he is taking your front desk employees and nearby guests as hostages. An image on a security camera reveals that the gunman is a former bellman who was fired last week. What is the first thing you and your management team do?
Fisher Phillips • August 08, 2016
Tragedy unfolded in Dallas last month at the hands of a lone sniper who ambushed and killed five police officers and wounded several others. While the nation mourns, the sad truth is that by the time this article is published, headlines from Dallas may well have been replaced by media coverage of the next similar event.
While last month’s massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub shook the nation to its core, active shooter situations have become all too common in recent years. As also shown by the San Bernardino office holiday party rampage and other examples, this is an issue HR simply cannot afford to ignore.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 17, 2016
In the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, 49 innocent people lost their lives in a mass shooting in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This mass shooting, the deadliest in U.S. history, has left the City of Orlando shaken, particularly members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ), and Latino/a communities.
Fisher Phillips • June 07, 2016
On April 20, 1999, a seed was planted in every workplace in this nation, one which has remained rather dormant for most of us until recently. That day, 13 people left their homes and entered Columbine High School – the aftermath is now at the doorsteps of every employer and cannot be ignored.
Fisher Phillips • April 06, 2016
After yet another incident of workplace violence in the news, we have to consider that any employee served with a restraining order should be treated as a reason to take workplace security precautions. The shooter in the most recent workplace mass shooting, which took place in Kansas in late February 2016, started his shooting spree immediately after he was served with a restraining order while at the workplace. It is unknown whether the shooter had issues at work, or if the restraining order triggered his rampage and the workers were merely convenient targets.
XpertHR • February 19, 2016
As recent events have made tragically clear, the number of active shooter events in the workplace seem to be becoming increasingly common. As a result, employers are struggling with how best to prepare their employees and protect the workplace in the event such a horrific situation occurs.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • December 14, 2015
The tragic mass shootings in Paris, Colorado Springs, and San Bernardino, in three successive weeks, have had global reverberations. They have also left employers grappling with questions as to what measures they should take—or are legally obligated to take—to keep employees safe from harm in the workplace. A recurring question posed over the last three weeks has been “should we conduct active shooter training?”
XpertHR • December 10, 2015
HR Intel PictureLast week’s mass murder at a Southern California office holiday party represents one of the worst workplace violence incidents in US history. Only the Ft. Hood shooting and the 1987 downing of a USAir passenger jet qualify as more severe. Given the severity and nature of the incident, the San Bernardino shooting (as it will come to be known) has far-reaching implications for employers, HR professionals and business owners everywhere. It could very well be a pivotal moment in workplace security.
Fisher Phillips • December 04, 2015
A new case on workplace violence in Missouri demonstrates the practical and legal challenges many employers face in today’s environment. The case shows the risk extends beyond violence by employees to violence by nonemployees – particularly in situations involving domestic abuse.
XpertHR • December 04, 2015
Workplace violence experts are urging employers to take steps to address safety and security in the wake of high-profile incidents across the country. The Occupational Safety and Health Act specifically requires employers to maintain safe and healthful workplaces, making workplace violence prevention a compliance concern. However, because workplaces differ in terms of their susceptibility to a potential security threat, an employer should take steps that best address a site's particular risks.
XpertHR • November 30, 2015
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has reached a novel settlement with Bon-Ton Stores in a discrimination case brought by a domestic violence victim, which he calls a "model for other employers." Under New York state law, domestic violence victims are a protected class.
Ogletree Deakins • November 05, 2015
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one out of every six violent crimes occurs in the workplace. These crimes include assaults, rapes, robberies, and—on rare occasions—homicides. Employees, customers, and third-party individuals are increasingly acting out in ways that devastatingly alter their lives and the lives of their coworkers. These issues are particularly concerning in retail establishments as they are more accessible to the public than many other workplaces given their hours of operation and direct interaction with customers. A recent report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that retail workers were disproportionately subjected to workplace violence. Although retail workers comprise 9 percent of the workforce in the United States, they account for 13 percent of all workplace violence incidents and an alarming 27 percent of all workplace homicides. Now, more than ever, retailers should consider implementing a comprehensive plan designed to both prevent and address violence in the workplace. A good workplace violence plan features five distinct elements.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 18, 2015
Violence is a leading cause of workplace deaths in the last 15 years and causes 48 percent of worker deaths in the retail industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • September 02, 2015
Reportedly, more than 1,700,000 workers are injured annually as a result of workplace violence. We were recently reminded that disgruntled employees can be deadly. On August 26th, Vester Lee Flanagan, II murdered two of his former colleagues during a live news segment before taking his own life. This tragedy provides an opportune backdrop for employers to reassess preventative measures in place and disaster readiness in order to minimize the likelihood and impact of violence in the workplace.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • September 02, 2015
On August 26, 2015, Vester Lee Flanagan, II shot and killed Alison Parker and Adam Ward, two Roanoke, Virginia journalists. Much has been — and will continue to be — written regarding this incident from the perspective of how it relates to gun control, mental health, or race relations. While this incident is extreme and tragic, workplace violence is not uncommon. Employers must assess the preventative measures they have in place and their disaster readiness in order to minimize the likelihood and impact of violence in the workplace.
XpertHR • August 31, 2015
Are there any reasons why an employer would not talk about disruptive workplace behavior as part of a reference check? A reporter asked me that question in the wake of the Virginia shooting deaths of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 28, 2015
The August 26 shooting of two journalists by a former co-worker on live TV in Virginia is a stark reminder that a worker may become violent.
Ogletree Deakins • July 24, 2015
One of the humbling aspects of keeping an online journal for any period of time, particularly when you are so unwise as to make predictions is that there exists documented proof of your own errors.
Fisher Phillips • June 15, 2015
Regulations interpreting the Violence against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA) become effective for higher education institutions on July 1, 2015. Generally speaking, these regulations contain new reporting, policy, and training requirements for colleges and universities. Here is a brief summary of some of the most important new provisions.
Nexsen Pruet • March 05, 2015
On February 5, just after the lunch hour at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, the ex-wife of a popular public health professor entered the campus office where the professor conducted cancer research and shot him to death before she turned the gun on herself.
Fisher Phillips • February 03, 2015
Cartoonists shot at work in Paris. Teachers killed while trying to protect their students in Newtown, Connecticut. A CEO shot in the head and stomach by a recently demoted employee in Illinois. News reports are filled with horrific tragedies occurring in workplaces around the world.
Fisher Phillips • January 07, 2015
Recent headlines confirm that the schoolyard bullies of yesteryear are all grown up and have joined the workforce – many of them in schools. Rather than taking place in the schoolyard or cafeteria, adult bullying is occurring in the teachers’ lounge and at faculty meetings. Reported cases of workplace bullying are increasing nationwide, grabbing the attention of the media and lawmakers. Being prepared to prevent, address and resolve bullying incidents among co-workers can help you avoid the hefty price tag that can result if you ignore bullies and do nothing.
Fisher Phillips • November 10, 2014
Amber Elias’ article “ViewPoint: Two Laws Dealing With Domestic Violence Leave Could Create Confusion” was featured in the Boston Business Journal on November 7, 2014.
Brody and Associates, LLC • October 02, 2014
The recent scandal involving NFL player Ray Rice’s violent physical assault on his then-fiancée has put a spotlight on domestic violence. Because of this high-profile incident, employers may see more domestic violence issues involving employees as both victims and perpetrators. Therefore, employers should remember the following...
Fisher Phillips • October 01, 2014
Generally speaking, human resources professionals and business executives have become quite adept at dealing with employee claims for illegal harassment. For example, just about any HR manager can provide a definition of a “hostile work environment.” Likewise, HR managers are keenly aware of what to do when handling workplace romantic relationships or inappropriate conduct that have the potential to generate a lawsuit.
Fisher Phillips • September 30, 2014
Domestic violence is wrong.
Fisher Phillips • May 01, 2013
The media and political figures have paid increased attention to workplace bullying in recent months and years. A simple Google search can confirm this reality. Moreover, legislators in 21 states have introduced bills to address and combat workplace bullying, starting with California in 2003.
Fisher Phillips • May 01, 2013
A lawsuit filed against a business in Minneapolis, Minnesota demonstrates that the problems associated with workplace violence do not necessarily end once the violence stops. Recently, the family of one of six individuals slain at the interior signage company filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company, alleging that it was “grossly negligent” in handling the termination of an employee.
Ogletree Deakins • March 21, 2013
If there is anyone who started with me when I made my first post in July, 2002 you will know that one topic that has come up repeatedly is my watch on the movement to have some state enact an anti-bullying law. It is much easier now than in the early days, because of Professor David Yamada's Minding the Workplace Blog, which covers those developments regularly.
Fisher Phillips • March 08, 2013
Under OSHA’s general-duty clause, all employers have the obligation to maintain a safe workplace regardless of whether OSHA has adopted any particular standard relating to how the tasks at issue are to be performed. In the current administration, OSHA is showing a willingness to stretch the general-duty clause to cover a broader number of workplace-safety issues than ever before. One of those areas is workplace violence, whether internal among employees or external from a crime.
Fisher Phillips • December 07, 2012
If a company employs five women, at least one of them has probably suffered violence at the hands of a spouse or boyfriend. Every day, three women in this nation are murdered by a current or former intimate partner. Unquestionably, domestic violence affects the workplace.
Fisher Phillips • November 02, 2012
As the holidays are approaching, you notice that Susan, one of your longtime employees with a near perfect attendance record, has missed several consecutive days of work due to an unspecified illness. When she returns to work, Susan looks like she has spent the past several days in the tanning bed. It seems unusual because Susan is so health conscious, but you shrug it off. Susan calls in sick again the next day.
Franczek Radelet P.C • October 31, 2012
The EEOC recently weighed in on the possible application of Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to employees who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Set forth in a “Q & A” format, this EEOC fact sheet makes clear that Title VII and the ADA do not specifically prohibit discrimination against applicants or employees who experience domestic violence. However, it warns that “potential employment discrimination and retaliation against these individuals may be overlooked,” and may trigger protection under Title VII or the ADA.
Brody and Associates, LLC • August 28, 2012
As our nation struggles to comprehend the recent mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado and at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, the national discourse has again turned to gun control. Employers must wrestle with the same basic issues present in the general debate – do you limit access to guns (at work) or hope self control rules the day? However employers resolve the big picture question of how they want to deal with weapons in the workplace, they must consider all the legal issues.
Jones Walker • January 23, 2012
According to the latest statistics, an astounding two million workers in America are the victims of workplace violence
each year, and workplace violence now ranks among the top four causes of workplace deaths. In 2010, 18 percent of U.S.
workplace fatalities were the result of workplace violence. Compare that to 14 percent of U.S. workplace fatalities caused
Ogletree Deakins • October 17, 2011
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has written an enforcement directive for purposes of investigating and dealing with incidents of workplace violence. The directive, issued on September 8, 2011, will be used by OSHAâ€™s district supervisors and area directors in determining whether or not to conduct an investigation into allegations of workplace violence, and includes inspection procedures that will be followed by the agencyâ€™s compliance officers while conducting such inspections. It also suggests various methods of abatement available to employers in workplace violence situations.
Ogletree Deakins • September 30, 2011
On September 8, OSHA issued Directive CPL 02-01-052, which for the first time establishes procedures for investigating workplace violence complaints.
Fisher Phillips • December 30, 2010
While workplace violence and bullying are not necessarily new problems, they've garnered recent attention as the recession continues to take its psychological toll on workers.
Ogletree Deakins • July 20, 2010
I continue to see a number of articles about the need for anti-bullying legislation, much to my dismay. When there is an article about it in the weekly Sunday supplement that's in my local newspaper, you know the movement is gaining traction. See Workplace Bullying: Do We Need a Law?
Ogletree Deakins • June 01, 2010
As long time readers may remember, I have for a long time been concerned about a proposed cause of action for bullying. My first post about bullying goes all the way back to January 12, 2003, Newest Workplace Problem? Bullying?
Ogletree Deakins • December 29, 2009
As more information about the perpetrators becomes available, we are hearing about several, all too familiar, warning signs of the men believed to be responsible for the recent shootings in Orlando, Florida and Killeen, Texas. This is a very appropriate time to refresh our memories about the types of behavior that should be cause for concern in the workplace.
Ogletree Deakins • March 16, 2009
Last month, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that Oklahoma laws supporting the right of individuals to possess firearms in locked vehicles on company property are not preempted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, and therefore are enforceable. That decision rested on the facts that the Oklahoma state statutes were instituted to regulate employees as members of the general public and not as “workers” and, therefore, that the statutes did not conflict with OSHA standards.
Fisher Phillips • November 05, 2008
In May 2008, the Indiana Supreme Court recognized a new legal phenomenon, workplace bullying, when it upheld a lower court's ruling that a surgeon was liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault for screaming, swearing at and advancing upon a coworker in the operating room.
Fisher Phillips • September 04, 2008
If the National Rifle Association didn't know who Edwin Sotomayer was before, it probably does now. The former security guard for Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park could soon be a part of one of the biggest cases to address a citizen's right to keep and bear arms that the nation has ever seen.
Ogletree Deakins • June 25, 2008
When faced with an abusive, intimidating boss or co-worker, many people's thoughts take them back to the school ground when they first encountered a bully.
Fisher Phillips • February 07, 2008
In 1999, California and Maine became among the first states to enact statutes providing protection or leave to employees who were victims of domestic violence. Since that time, a number of states have followed suit. As examples, during the last year, Florida, Kansas, and Oregon have either enacted or amended statutes to provide greater protections to employees who are victims of domestic violence.
Fisher Phillips • January 04, 2008
With the rising concern about workplace violence over the last decade, many employers have adopted policies prohibiting guns in the workplace. Such policies generally prohibit employees, as well as third parties, from bringing firearms or other weapons onto company property, including company parking lots.
Fisher Phillips • October 05, 2007
You know the employee the caller is talking about. Quiet. Awkward. Intense. Coworkers avoid him. He makes you uncomfortable. He's "weird," the "odd duck" that everyone has ignored to date. The caller relays a rumor: he has a mental impairment and doesn't always take his medication. No one has complained about him before, but after the events at Virginia Tech, you've received calls from coworkers painting him as a ticking time bomb. Your employees are talking about him, escalating their concerns and infecting the work environment with a low-scale panic. They expect you to "do something."
Ogletree Deakins • June 15, 2007
As more information becomes available, we are finding an all-too-familiar profile of the young man believed to be responsible for the recent shootings on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. This is a very appropriate time to refresh our memories about the kinds of behaviors which should be cause for concern on school campuses and around the office.