EMPLOYER TAX BRIEF
Addressing the daunting threat of workplace violence
It’s a subject that most people don’t like to think about, but every employer must address. Workplace violence is an enormous threat to the physical, mental and psychological well-being of your employees. And just one incident can drastically lower the morale and productivity of an organization for a long time.
A costly problem
Finding exact data on the financial impact of workplace violence is difficult because many crimes other than homicides go unreported. A 2022 analysis by career information provider Zippia estimated that U.S. businesses lose an average of $250 billion to $330 billion annually to violent incidents. These costs arise from:
- Lost work time and wages,
- Reduced productivity and turnover,
- Higher health care costs,
- Workers’ compensation and disability insurance premiums, and
- Legal and security expenses.
As you’re no doubt aware, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to provide a workplace free from hazards that could cause harm or death — including violence. Some states and localities have related laws.
The first step toward managing the risk is a threat assessment. Leadership needs to recognize the types of threats most likely to affect your workplace.
Sometimes, perpetrators have no direct relationship to the organization. Instead, violence occurs in conjunction with another criminal act, such as theft or vandalism. Other times, crimes are perpetrated by someone related to your company — typically current or former employees, contractors, or customers.
Violent behavior can also be directed toward one of your workers by someone unassociated with your organization but whom they know, such as an angry spouse, current or former romantic partner, or friend.
Many employers lack the internal resources to assess threats and minimize risks. If this applies to your organization, explore the costs and benefits of engaging a security consultant. A qualified advisor can conduct a formal threat assessment and work with you to identify and undertake specific steps to minimize situations that can lead to violence.
As the saying goes, “forewarned is forearmed.” We can help you measure productivity and evaluate the costs of better securing your workplace against likely threats.