"13 dead in D.C. shooting", "Mass Murder Stuns Friends of Victims", "Gunman Kills 5 Co-Workers and himself", these types of headlines are getting to be the norm in our society these days. The question for workers and employers is how do we identify these potential perpetrators through behaviors, and how do we deal with issues before they escalate.

There are eight behaviors that may help predict who these people are and indicate the need for management intervention. These high-risk behaviors are everyday behaviors that occur in certain patterns - they occur long before threats or actual workplace violence actually takes place.

The eight categories of workplace violence are:


When a manager, supervisor or HR person sees these behavior patterns, they must document the behaviors, talk to the employee, discuss the behaviors in terms of their negative effect on work, and require training, counseling, or both. Employers may also see the need for disciplinary action.

The manager, supervisor or HR person must then continue to monitor the employee's behavior. The goal is either to get the employee to change his behavior, via skills acquisition and/or dealing with problems in a positive manner, or leave the workplace by choice or company decision. If the latter is the case all personnel must be alerted to ensure that the individual is not allowed back into a facility without proper notice supervision during the visit.