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Bracing For Workplace Violence

9.3.12

Ed Foulke, a partner in the Atlanta and Washington, D.C. offices and co-chair the firm's Workplace Safety and Catastrophe Management Practice Group, was quoted in the September 2012 InsideCounsel article "Bracing For Workplace Violence." The article cited a recent shooting at the Empire State Building by a disgruntled ex-employee as another episode of work-related violence in a time when workplace disputes can often end in gunfire. Ed said he has seen workplace violence rising recently and attributes this to the continuing economic slump. He noted: "In the past, when people got laid off, they just went out and got another job. Now it's not that easy to do." The tight job market can also mean people stay on in a bad situation—for example, when they are being harassed by another employee or a supervisor—until they "snap." Ed also warned that OSHA has begun to take action against employers where there are incidents of workplace violence. He advised that the best defense against those actions is to have a policy to prevent violence and protect employees against it, to show it is being implemented, and to show that employees and managers know about it.

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