Establish zero-tolerance policy on violence and threats–but don’t count on backup from courts

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in Employment Law,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Preventing Workplace Violence

Every employer must take the threat of workplace violence seriously. Sadly, it’s a reality of working life these days. No manager wants to be the one who missed signs of trouble, only to have an employee lose control and maim or kill co-workers.

Government regulators such as OSHA hold employers responsible for workplace violence.

The almost universal employer response to increased workplace violence has been the implementation of so-called zero-tolerance policies. The idea is that by banning all forms of threatening and aggressive behavior, an employee’s behavior is less likely to escalate into tragedy.

The problem with zero-tolerance rules is that they only work if they’re uniformly enforced. Employers can’t pick and choose which employee’s behavior violates the policy. To do so invites legal trouble, as the following case shows.

Recent case: Timothy Pearson, who is black, worked for Ford Motor Co. for many years and was ap...(register to read more)

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