Workplace Violence and Disgruntled Ex-Employees
Violence in the workplace is a serious concern for security teams, HR personnel, and employees alike. Disgruntled terminated employees may try to seek revenge through violence against co-workers or destruction of property. In today’s world, keeping employees and tenants safe must be a top priority for facilities staff. Recent incidences of workplace violence have spanned the country from Massachusetts to California and back. According to OSHA, there were over 500 workplace homicides in 2010 (the latest data available) and homicide is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace. In addition, nearly 2,000,000 Americans each year report being a victim of workplace violence.[i]
Some consider workplace violence an epidemic, and with the statistics above, it is easy to see why. While some workplace violence can be considered random or non-personal, as with the case with robberies, in office environments, the perpetrator of violence is typically closely tied to the company, whether it be disgruntled ex-employees, ex-customers, or even people with a personal relationship to an employee.
The goal, of course, is to keep these and other individuals that would intend to cause harm out of the building entirely. The challenge in many cases is that security teams and reception teams have not been notified that the individual that they have seen coming and going for years is now a security risk. In some cases, recently terminated employees have returned and asked the security team for access to pick up items, or pretended that they had just lost their security badge, and need access into the building. In other cases, ex-spouses or significant others that are familiar, have gained access from the security team.
This type of security breach has resulted in assaults and murders. With manual visitor management systems, handwritten logins, and the like, these breaches are possible. An informal Watch List or Do Not Admit allows for individuals to slip through the cracks, especially if they are recognizable. The best way to prevent visitors that intend harm to the facility or persons at the facility is with an automated visitor management system/software.
iVisitor from Veristream requires that visitors be pre-registered by their host, and upon check-in their identification is scanned. After preregistration, visitor information is automatically scanned against the building’s barred visitors list, and the security team is notified of potential issues prior to their arrival. The challenge in a multi-tenant environment is that often individuals will make an appointment with another tenant in the building, just to gain access.
Due to the nature of handwritten or other manually-updated barred visitors lists, these individuals that intend to do harm and commit workplace violence can be granted access. With iVisitor these lists that help keep potentially dangerous individuals out of the building are updated in real-time. If an employee is terminated, the administrator for the tenant can immediately place the individual on the list, and in the event they attempt entry, the situation can be properly managed.
Employees of the building and tenant employees must be empowered to report potential personal threats. Sadly, assaults and murders have been committed in the workplace by individuals with personal relationships to someone onsite. These individuals too can be added to the building’s Do Not Admit List, and even if they attempt to gain entry through another tenant, they can be denied entry, or an escort may be required.
Terminated employees can pose a potentially deadly security threat, and tenants and security personnel must be kept abreast of any changes in employment status, and any verbal, implied, or written threats that have been made. Building security teams must be trained in how to deal with a disgruntled ex-employee when they want to enter the building, even if they are familiar. A real-time Barred Visitors List can help the security team to quickly identify these threats through the automated system.
Workplace security must be a top priority, and cannot be left to manual or handwritten lists. A secure online visitor management system that automatically checks incoming visitors against barred personnel is simply a must-have.