ABB Shooting: Economy May Play Role in Workplace Violence
Guarino, Mark, The Christian Science Monitor
Timothy Hendron killed four coworkers and himself in the ABB shooting in St. Louis Thursday. He was involved in a lawsuit against the company regarding a dispute over retirement benefits.
The shooting at ABB Group in St. Louis Thursday that ended with four
people dead, including the shooter, raises the prospect that the
recession could be a strong contributor to workplace violence.
The Associated Press reports that the shooter, Timothy Hendron, was
among several plant employees suing the company and its trustee,
Fidelity Management Trust, for an unspecified amount over
"unreasonable and excessive fees" related to their retirement
benefits. The federal trial was already underway in Kansas City, Mo.
and was expected to last three weeks.
Mr. Hendron had worked at ABB, a company that makes electrical
transformers, for 23 years.
Role of the recessionThe downturn in the economy may be creating
more circumstances that lead to violent outbursts, says Larry Chavez,
an expert on workplace violence.
"There's more pressure put on people recently because of the
economy," he says. "More people have faced a dissolving of their
whole career. It's too hard to face for some people. When you have
23 years invested, that's a lot."
Although there are no hard data connecting violence with economic
downturns, periods of economic difficulty have been linked to
increases in violent behavior.
For instance, a study released last March by the Florida Department
of Children and Families revealed that the state saw an almost 40
percent increase in demand for domestic-violence centers, which it
said was related to the poor economy.
Hendron fits the profileHendron fits the profile of many of the
people who have killed at their workplace: He is male (95 percent are
men in these cases), he showed no previous signs of violent behavior,
and he was a veteran employee, which made him more susceptible to
company layoffs or benefit alterations, notes Mr. …