Human Resources

Preventing and Dealing with Violence in the Workplace

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Preventing and Dealing with Violence in the Workplace

Workplace violence and safety HR policy book

According to Statistics, 1 out of 7 people don’t feel safe at work

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has recently reported that 1 out of 7 people don’t feel safe at work. This isn’t surprising given the increasing number of violent work incidents over the past couple of years. Unfortunately just last month, locally here in the Atlanta area 2 employees were detained during an active shooter scare, to which the Alpharetta business was evacuated for further police investigations.


HR professionals are witnessing more problematic behavioral types and changing attitudes towards workplace behavior, to which some blame the rise of the #MeToo movement. Organizations have been more focused on inclusivity; however, this could absolutely be indicative of future workplace violent acts.

According to The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), workplace violence is “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide.” OSHA also states that there are about 2 million reported cases of workplace violence every year.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) breaks workplace violence into the following four categories:

  1. Criminal Intent 

    The incident occurs on the company’s property, but the perpetrator has no connection to the company

  2. Customer/Client 

    The perpetrator has a business reason for having contact with employees and becomes violent during or after that business contact

  3. Worker-on-Worker 

    A current or former employee perpetrates violence against coworkers

  4. Personal Relationship 

    The perpetrator has a relationship with the employee outside of work but has no connection to the business

It’s crucial for companies to make their employees feel safe on the job. This starts with the responsibilities of HR to identify their staff starting with the proper candidate screenings, including background checks, and getting to know workers on a more personal level to see the warning signs. It’s then necessary to train first level managers to spot concerning employees and bring those concerns to HR or senior management. Establishing a zero-tolerance policy is the first step in outlining a workplace violence protection program. The Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 — more popularly called the “Guns Everywhere Bill” — clarified the rights of employers to ban guns on their property. Under the law, employers can prohibit the possession of firearms in company buildings and company-owned parking lots “as long as the employer is the property owner or has legal control of the property.” If owners want protection inside their facilities it’s highly recommended that a written policy authorizing an employee to carry a weapon be added upon the advanced written approval of the CEO or Owner.

Whether these rules are composed as a part of the company handbook or as its own separate policy, creating a prevention plan, identifying and defining workplace violence, recognizing warning signs, establishing an emergency response plan, and implementing a response team must be documented. Thinking outside the box, such as keeping a simple doorstop near the front door, can readily be put in place to stop intruders from entering your workplace. These actions, communication and education must start from the top down, where management provides hands-on training and safety instruction to ensure all employees know the proper protocol given a dangerous emergency situation.


Flex HR, Inc. – Among the Top Outsourcing and Consulting Firms in Atlanta, Georgia

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Flex HR, Inc. – Among the Top Outsourcing and Consulting Firms in Atlanta, Georgia

Skyline of Downtown Atlanta at SunsetFlex HR is your one-stop human resource services firm catering to small and mid-sized companies, especially but not limited to, the greater Atlanta area. The Atlanta market is unique. We support all your HR functions; from executive leadership and employment law compliance, as well as the day-to-day HR issues, administration, payroll, benefits management and talent acquisition. We work with your HR staff or become your HR department, short or long-term.

Increasingly, HR departments have been demanding more and more human resources capabilities, thus we expanded our services to offset the load and allow companies to concentrate on their core business instead of the overwhelming human resources tasks. It’s crucial that your HR firm is an expert in navigating each HR function, in addition to local HR regulations, to keep you compliant with today’s labor laws.

According to The Fiscal Times, nearly 85% of organizations outsource at least some of their HR tasks, which is why we pride ourselves on our flexibility, reliability and affordability. Businesses outsource their HR to save money and improve efficiencies, and that’s just what we do. We customize and streamline HR solution plans for each company letting you choose which services you need as your business success evolves.

Here in Atlanta, we service almost every industry and continually work with organizations of all sizes. Georgia compliance rules and regulations are complicated and constantly changing. Flex HR is your experienced Atlanta HR provider, ensuring your business stays up-to-date and remains compliant with these laws so you can concentrate on your principal business. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution named Flex HR as one of the AJC’s “best of Atlanta business profiles.”

Providing a more effective way to handle HR is just one reason Flex HR is among Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing private companies. Local Atlanta businesses choose Flex HR because we tailor services to their specific needs, safeguarding their compliance with today’s complex employment laws. We help them handle virtually any HR challenge or opportunity they face. Outsourcing Gazette magazine listed Flex HR as the “Top Most Promising HR & Staffing Service Vendors.”

To receive a one-hour complimentary HR consultation, contact Jill Purdy, Customer Success Manager, at 678.763.7945 or

Flex HR on Buckhead Business Radio Show – Phil Davis

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Phil Davis Senior Consultant at Flex HR, alongside Wayne Surman of Milton Park Partners, spoke on the Buckhead Business Association Radio Show about supporting companies of all sizes that need HR. Listen how Phil and Wayne explain how they give clients of all sizes the best value and the right Human Resources help they need to succeed and grow their business.