Workplace Violence Policy Urged Experts Advise Response Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: Earl Daniels and Sarah Skidmore, Times-Union staff writers

Local company officials can take preventive steps to thwart workplace violence, local human resource experts say.

Every company should have office policies in place to specifically address office violence and ways to respond when it happens, said Lynda Mance, director of violence prevention and crisis recovery at Jacksonville-based Corporate Care Works. The company provides employee assistance programs to 140 companies throughout the United States, including 80 in Jacksonville.

Mance and the company's "to-go crisis team" were called yesterday to console workers in and around the Riverside office building where a shooting left one state employee dead and two others in serious condition.

"I wish we would do more preventive measures," Mance said.

She said it is useless for a company to have a policy without any procedures to enforce it. Employees need to know how to report the information, if they see or hear something.

"If you don't know what to do with it or who to tell, what good is that?" Mance said.

A change in an employee's behavior can be a warning sign before a person commits a violent act, said Linda Plummer, a board member of the Jacksonville chapter of the Society of Human Resource Managers.

"Ask them what is going on in their lives if a change in behavior occurs," Plummer said.

Many companies have employee assistance programs that can provide free private employee counseling.

"But there is a stigma about seeing a therapist," Plummer said. …