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Profiling the Lethal Employee: Case Studies of Violence in the Workplace

NCJ Number
M D Kelleher
Date Published
176 pages
Based on case studies of workers who have committed violent acts at the workplace, this book profiles the "lethal employee," examines events that may trigger violence in the workplace, and suggests strategies of intervention and prevention.
Based on case studies, the employee at risk for violent behavior in the workplace is typically male, white, between the ages of 30 and 60, socially isolated, and spurred to violence by triggering events. Behavioral characteristics include a history of violent behavior, evidence of severe psychological disorder, obsession with another individual, chemical dependence, severe depression, a tendency to blame others for problems, impaired neurological functioning, and a preoccupation with weaponry or paramilitary subjects. Since the path to violence is generally one of behavioral escalation, it is often possible to detect the early indications of a worker who is experiencing stressors or circumstances that may eventually result in a violent reaction. Ingredients for effective preventive intervention are timing, the availability of adequate resources, knowledge of the employee's history and background, knowledge of recent events and circumstances, a nonthreatening but firm strategy, the establishment of trust and credibility, and priority to resolving or ameliorating critical issues before all else. Staff education and training are critical to the development of an involved, concerned, nonviolent workforce. Appended list of resources, a subject index, and a 30-item bibliography


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