To begin, I will recognize the time period when workplace violence, specifically shootings, began to attract public awareness. In addition, I will list the physical traits of the “typical” workplace shooter, as well as describe the behavior that can be linked to the “typical” workplace shooter. Moreover, I will identify facts and statistics pertaining to this international concern.

According to “History of Workplace Violence,” written by Laura Agadoni, workplace violence, specifically workplace shootings, began to become identified as a huge problem by the American public following an incident that occurred on April 20, 1986. A part-time letter carrier shot 14 people to death in his place of work before taking his own life. Although there have been many workplace shootings in our nation’s history, the frequency of these shootings has been increasing significantly leading up to this incident.

It is very important to be able to recognize the pattern of what type of individual has a history of committing acts of workplace violence, particularly homicide.

Physical Traits

*Between the ages of 25 and 40

Behavior Patterns

*Tends to be a loner
*Has been employed by the company for a long period of time (15 years or longer)
*Incapable of accepting criticism
*Has a history of committing violent acts
*Has a history of family/marital problems
*Holds grudges and loses his/her temper very easily
*Has both an interest in and easy access to guns
*Has a history of absence from the workplace
*Has a history of drug or alcohol problems

*These descriptions of the “typical” workplace shooter were found in a 1996 article, titled “The mythical world of workplace violence – or is it?” written by Donald W. Myers.

Now, I will state facts pertaining to the issue of workplace violence, with the objective of providing an idea of the circumstances surrounding the majority of cases of violence in the workplace. All the following facts were found in an article titled, “Workplace Violence Statistics – Statistics on Workplace Violence.”

*Men committed 91.6% of workplace shootings.
*Nearly 38% of workplace shootings were committed in “white-collar” situations.
*Approximately 36% of male workplace shooters took their own life immediately following
their shooting spree.
*Florida and California are the most dangerous states concerning workplace shootings.
*24% of workplace shootings involved perpetrators who were either laid off or fired.
*79% of all weapons used in workplace shootings were handguns, 81% of which were
*13% of cases of workplace shootings had shown that the perpetrator had a history of mental
health problems.

Corporations’ Response

With the knowledge that disturbed employees, most notably former employees, are the greatest threat to the company, concerning workplace violence/shootings, corporations have created strict policies and procedures to deal with former employees. With a rise in workplace shootings over the past two decades, corporations are taking no chances when it comes to dealing with former employees. This perspective is reflected in the Information Security Management Handbook, Volume 1, written by Harold F. Tipton and Micki Krause. According to this source, employees who are involuntarily terminated should be:

*Asked to leave the location immediately
*Asked to turn over any badges, keys, or anything else that would give the employees access to the premises.

In addition, any information, including employee log-on IDs or passwords, should be retrieved from the former employee. Also, any locks known to the terminated employee should be changed immediately. Employees are usually required to sign a document, complying with these procedures.

In response to an increase in the frequency of workplace shootings throughout the last two decades, corporations have developed Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). These programs include services by counselors to assist employees with personal, domestic, and workplace issues. According to the Department of Human Resource Management, EAPs are able to assist employees with issues that are related to:

*Mental Health

These issues include, but are not limited to, those listed above.

According to “Solutions For People In The Workplace – EAP 101: Frequently Asked Questions,” Employee Assistance Programs are strictly confidential. The individual using the program and the EAP are the only parties that know of the individual’s use. Not even the employer is permitted to know of the employee’s use of the EAP, without the employee’s consent. The only case in which the program can disclose the content of the counseling sessions, without the consent of the employees using the services, is if the employees indicate that they will harm themselves or somebody else.

Employee Assistance Program sessions are purchased by the employer. The number of sessions that can be used by troubled employees depends on how many sessions the employer purchases. The family members of employees may also use EAP sessions. These family members do not even have to be a part of the employee’s immediate family.

Employee Assistance Programs were created with the understanding that those who commit acts of violence and shootings in the workplace tend to have issues, whether they are domestic, personal, or issues within the workplace. The sole intention of these programs is to support the employees who have these issues and to provide them an alternative solution to violence and murder.


Throughout the last two decades the issue of workplace violence and shootings has been recognized as a major national problem by lawmakers and corporations alike. Corporations have reacted by identifying the factors that have led individuals to turn to violence and murder, and acquiring resources, primarily Employee Assistance Programs, which are equipped to aid distressed employees in finding alternative solutions to their issues.


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