Posts Tagged ‘Workplace Violence’

You are Either too Dumb, or You Were in on it!

October 13th, 2016 Comments off


Robert De Niro’s character, Sam Rothstein says in the movie Casino “3 jackpots in 20 minutes!? Why didn’t you pull the machines? You’re either too dumb, or you were in on it.”

A little harsh, but worth some consideration in the corporate security world.

You may have put a contingency plan together for travel security, employment screening, a work stoppage or general workplace safety and believe that everything has been considered, but then you see that something is not working out. Don’t beat yourself up over it or pretend it is not happening and hope it gets back on track.

Move quickly and make a change. Simple.

Last week, the Toronto Blue Jays hit back to back to back home runs from the same pitcher. Why didn’t the manager pull the pitcher after the second?


pillar jays2 jays-3

Make sure all of your contingency plans allow for change as required, so they remain as fluid documents that you can continuously improve on.

Miss Florida Stripped

September 20th, 2016 Comments off

miss florida

While in Florida at the ASIS annual conference on behalf of AFIMAC and FocusPoint, I caught a story on TV about a recent Miss Florida contest.

After Genesis Davila had won the crown, it was alleged that she had used professional hair and makeup services in her room, which is against pageant rules. Ms. Davila was stripped of her title and crown in the days following. Although there were alleged complaints from eyewitnesses, the damning evidence against Ms. Davila came from her Instagram account, showing her having her makeup done by a 3rd party.

Currently, Ms. Davila is suing for damages in excess of $15 million, sighting amongst other things, that the photo she posted of having her makeup done was taken the week before, not on the pageant day. If what Ms. Davila claims about the photo is true, it is possible pageant organizers jumped the gun without a thorough investigation.

In the corporate world, dealing with rule breakers, theft, WPV, harassment, and employees using drugs is something you would like to deal with quickly. Also, although a social media investigation is a good first step, following up with an employee interview and physical investigation is beneficial to support a termination and court proceedings if required.


AFIMAC Global in Canadian HR Report: Hunting for Clues Online

April 19th, 2016 Comments off

Click article to enlarge. 


Reprinted by permission of Canadian HR Reporter.
© Copyright Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd., April 4, 2016, Toronto, Ontario.
1-800-387-5164. Web:

AFIMAC’s Peter Martin quoted by Associated Press related to Workplace Emergency Plans, as featured on ABC NEWS

December 16th, 2015 Comments off

Workplace Balance

The terror attack at a social services facility in California has become a sobering reminder to companies of how vulnerable workplaces can be when employees are confronted with active shooters.

Since a gun-wielding husband-and-wife team killed 14 and wounded 21 others this month in San Bernardino, California, employers across the country have been reassessing their emergency plans to ensure they are prepared to deal with workplace violence.

More companies have been calling security and human resources experts to get information on how to prepare for an attack. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said big companies have asked for permission to use its nine-minute video, “Surviving an Active Shooter,” which portrays shootings in an office, a shopping mall and a school.

And “Run. Hide. Fight.,” a six-minute video created by Houston officials on what to do when someone opens fire in the office, has been viewed tens of thousands of times daily since the rampage, the most views since its release around the time of the mass shooting in a Coloradomovie theater in 2012. Jackie Miller, the city of Houston’s community preparedness programs manager, said one company asked for 6,000 wallet-sized cards with the mantra from the video, encouraging workers to hide if they can’t run, and fight if they can’t hide.

The company inquiries come as workplace violence in the U.S. has made international headlines. The most recent official statistics are two years old and show the rate of workplace violence to be steady for the previous two decades. Still, deaths resulting from workplace violence were the second leading cause of job fatalities in the U.S. after transportation incidents in 2013, the latest data available, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And studies show that most companies are ill-equipped to deal with workplace violence. A government survey in 2005 found that 80 percent of companies that experienced a violent incident didn’t subsequently change workplace violence policies or programs. The survey did not spell out what a policy or program would include.

In practice, companies’ response plans range from highly detailed to nonexistent, security experts say. Brent O’Bryan, vice president of AlliedBarton Security Services, said when he gives seminars on workplace violence awareness across the country, about half the attendees say their companies have no policy. “I am not confident that most employers are prepared,” he says.

Part of the problem is that most companies don’t know how to create a workplace violence plan, says Peter Martin, CEO of AFIMAC Global, a security consulting company based in Miami.

Also, there’s a belief by some that workplace violence won’t happen in their office: Indeed, smaller companies may not be particularly concerned about workplace violence following shootings, says Jay Starkman, CEO of Engage PEO, a human resources provider based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“A lot of employers, especially small and medium-sized businesses, believe even in the wake of all the things you read about: ‘It can’t happen here, not in my company, not with the people I know,'” Starkman says.

Some companies that are aware of the potential for workplace violence are preparing in the event of an active shooting. Choice Hotels, for instance, designates employees who are able to block access to elevators and direct other staffers to evacuation routes. Its response plans are continually evolving, but no changes have been made since the San Bernardino shootings, says Anne Hendrick, vice president of human resources for the hotel company.

Some companies also include in their plans an emphasis on preventing violence before it starts. Beer and wine distributor Monarch Beverage, which has about 650 employees at its Indianapolis headquarters, has a doctor and nurse practitioner onsite who are able to handle mental health issues. Supervisors also are trained to recognize changes in workers’ behavior or to alert security if they anticipate trouble from a negative job review.

“Our people are hyper-vigilant to make sure they involve our security team if they have any concerns whatsoever,” says Natalie Roberts, senior vice president with the Indianapolis company, which also has an emergency plan.

But even when companies prepare for workplace violence, the end result can be tragic. Some of the San Bernardino shooting survivors followed workplace violence training they were given about a year before the killings.

Employees at the San Bernardino County Environmental Health Services division had gotten “active shooter” training in the same conference room where the shootings took place. Two survivors said colleagues reacted by trying to do as they were trained — dropping under the tables and staying quiet to avoid attracting attention.

Rob Shuster, AFIMAC VP on WTAP NEWS – Active Shooter Critical Moments

December 14th, 2015 Comments off

WTAP NEWS – Active Shooter Critical Moments


Rob Shuster of AFIMAC discusses active shooter incidents with WTAP NEWS.



Shootings in businesses and public offices are nothing new.

But in the past, they’ve been motivated by people with largely personal issues.

Because of that, companies have surfaced to help employees take a pro–‐active stance to deal with them.

“People can, out of panic and out of fear, do things you wouldn’t expect them to do,” says Ron Shuster, Vice–‐President for training, AFIMAC “They’ll freeze; they’ll take things out with them, some of them will understand that priority one is to evacuate; some of them will not. Some of them will do things that will make things more difficult for the responding police officers,  and they have to be schooled not to do those things.”

AFIMAC provides active shooter training for businesses and similar organizations. Another company, Dark Angel Medical, helps responders prepare for those incidents.

But one of its officials says fighting back is one way not to deal with a mass gunman.

“Police are going to be coming, and I’m not going to be running out of the store with my gun out, because they’ll think I’m the bad guy,” says Dark Angel co–‐founder Lynn Davis. “I’m going to be trying to move away from the dangerous situation, and my main mission is to protect my husband and my child.”

Both companies say due to events of the past month, active shooter training may be evolving.

“I suspect that will happen, given Paris,” Shuster says. “I think it’s ridiculous to assume that won’t happen here. But it did happen in Paris.” AFIMAC was started in the 1980s by former Washington County commissioner James Vuksic.

Dark Angel plans a training exercise next June in Reno, Ohio, just outside Marietta.


Throwing Water & Slapping – Political Workplace Violence

June 8th, 2012 Comments off

There was a very disturbing example of workplace violence caught on a Greek television show this week that had one politician lose his temper and attack two rival politicians – both women.   There is now a warrant for the attackers arrest.  He used a glass of water to throw at the politician that was out of reach, and then began slapping the politician sat closest to him.

During terminations, it is suggested that objects that can be picked up and thrown or used as weapons should be removed from the area, but I don’t think anyone would have guessed politicians in a TV debate would become violent.


Greek politician throws glass of water, slaps opponent on talk show

By CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) — The Greek prosecutor’s office issued a warrant Thursday for the arrest of a well-known politician videotaped throwing a glass of water at a colleague and slapping another.

Ilias Kasidiaris of Greece’s far-right party Golden Dawn caused a national uproar with his actions during a popular morning television talk show. Police are looking for Kasidiaris, also the party’s spokesman, but no arrest has been reported.

Kasidiaris and other candidates appeared on ANT1 TV to discuss the June 17 elections.

See video and read more…

Workplace Violence

May 17th, 2012 Comments off

An excellent article on workplace violence.  While the article references three of the top industries, the excerpt I’ve inserted below clearly shows that no one industry is immune to workplace violence if there are one of the four components involved – criminal, customer of client, co-worker, domestic violence

Workplace Violence: A Scourge Across Diverse Industries

By Laura Scott, Esq.

Security Magazine


Read full article here…

Although certain industries attract more than their share of workplace violence, its characteristics affect every sector of business. The hazard has been defined by the Department of Labor as “violent acts directed towards a person at work or on duty.” There need not be actual physical contact: it can include threats of assault, harassment, intimidation or bullying.  So the Department’s classifications of workplace violence situations apply pretty well universally:

•  Criminal: The perpetrator has no legitimate relationship to the workplace or its employee and essentially is committing a crime in conjunction with the violence (i.e. robbery).

•  Customer or Client: The perpetrator has a legitimate relationship with the business and becomes violent while being served (ie. customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, etc).

•  Co-Worker: The perpetrator is an employee or past employee of the business and attacks or threatens another employee.

•  Domestic Violence: The perpetrator, who has no legitimate relationship with the business but has a relationship with the intended victim, threatens or assaults the intended victim at the workplace.

Read full article here…

IMAC Conference in Arizona

May 16th, 2012 Comments off

The IMAC conference from May 10-11th in Arizona was a tremendous success.  The itinerary looked promising, and the expert speakers delivered on that expectation.

  • Jack Toner had an extremely informative presentation on the NLRB
  • Richard Levick was energizing speaking on public relations and crisis communications
  • Joe Schollaert from IMAC uncovered some excellent points of consideration discussing how to prepare for a strike
  • Dr. Michael Corcoran delivered a wealth of information on workplace violence considerations
  • Steve Cabot relayed some great real examples to illustrate his topic of employers rights
  • Michael Sherrard pulled some references from each of the other topics to wrap the conference up nicely with his topic of the globalization of unions

It was an excellent learning experience and the participation of all is greatly appreciated.

I’m already looking forward to next year.

Drug Free Workplace – Undercover Investigations

April 24th, 2012 Comments off

Undercover Investigations

The State of Florida recently signed a bill to allow drug testing in the workplace – The Drug Free Workplace Act.  The test can be done randomly every three months and include up to 10% of a company’s workforce.  Positive tests can result in immediate termination.

While this may assist companies with on the job usage that could cause potential safety risks (e.g. forklift drivers or other machine operators), it doesn’t address other drug related issues that may be going on in a workplace.  There are cases where drug dealers have applied for employment with companies to open themselves to a new clientele in a relatively ‘safe’ zone free of police patrols like they would encounter on the streets.

To investigate possible drug activity like dealing, which can lead to workplace violence if deals go bad, an undercover investigator would be suggested.  Undercover investigators will document who is involved and where the violations are taking place.  This can also include video and the company can take appropriate action with the evidence collected.

Drug Free Workplace enacted in Florida

By: By Maggie Rooks | Special to the Floridan
Published: April 19, 2012

Gov. Rick Scott recently signed a bill into law that allows Florida state agencies to randomly test workers for drugs.

The Drug Free Workplace Act will let state employers test up to 10 percent of their workforce once every three months. The first time an employee tests positive, he or she will be fired.

The testing was first proposed in the 2011 Florida Legislature session but was passed in the state House of Representatives and Senate during the last week of the 2012 session, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

Previous Florida drug testing laws only allowed for the random testing of state workers in “safety sensitive” situations and treatment options instead of automatic termination on the first positive test, according to the statute.

Victoria Mock, 20, has never been drug tested for her job as a student worker for the Leon County School Board. However, she isn’t worried about the new statute.

“I wouldn’t find being tested inconvenient because I have nothing to be worried about,” Mock said.

For the purposes of the Florida Drug Free Workplace Act, the term “drug” can refer to alcohol, prescription medicines, narcotics, hallucinogens, amphetamines, opiates and any other addicting substances.

Read more…

Workplace Violence in the NFL

April 18th, 2012 Comments off

Absolutely the NFL is susceptible to workplace violence.  Keep in mind everyone from the players to the doctor to the water boy are employees of a team and staff of the stadium teams play in are also open to violence.

There have been player fights during games and practices:

The San Francisco 49ers can’t seem to get along during practice. In the middle of a ball security drill, cornerback Shantae Spencer nailed linebacker Ahmad Brooks. Everyone seemed to laugh about it, but Brooks didn’t think it was funny. The linebacker got up, hit Spencer in the head and the two started to fight.

Fans have pelted players and staff with objects:

During a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Denver Broncos at Cleveland Stadium, officials had the teams switch end zones in the fourth quarter to protect Denver players from batteries and other objects being thrown from the Dawg Pound.

Fans have had fights in the seats that inevitably involve security staff:

Fans of football Bay Area rivals, the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders, got into a brawl at a recent preseason game between the two teams.

With the NFL releasing the 2012-2013 schedule, I am looking forward to seeing what Peyton Manning will do for the Broncos with the exit of Tim Tebow, but I also couldn’t help think of the recent Bountygate issue that has been a hot topic in the NFL lately.  How is that for a case of workplace violence?  Imagine it in an office setting.  A manager requests that an employee targets a competitors employee to inflict pain or fear so they cannot perform their job duties.  Workplace bullying most definitely.

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