The violent attack at the home of federal Judge Esther Salas in New Jersey last weekend left her 20-year-old son dead and her husband, a former prosecutor, seriously injured. The tragic event is a stark reminder that even at home, violence related to someone’s job can and does represent a real threat.
As the nature of the workplace is changing, so is the nature of workplace violence. Due to government stay-at-home orders during COVID-19, much of the workforce has shifted to work from home (WFH) arrangements. Just because an employee has changed their work location does not mean there is no longer a risk of workplace violence. In fact, the same or greater risk may exist, but with fewer resources to protect workers outside of the traditional workplace.
Workplace violence prevention expert Steve Crimando, principal of the consulting firm Behavioral Science Applications LLC, says, “From OSHA’s perspective, wherever someone is on the clock, they are on the job. Employers continue to have a Duty of Care for employees working from home. Out of sight cannot mean out of mind.” Crimando stressed that both employers and employees who are concerned with the possibility of violence encountered on the job would greatly benefit from a discussion of the contemporary workplace violence landscape and approaches to mitigate the risk of violence for those working from home.
In the interest of safety, security and defensibility of the employer’s position on violence prevention, it is important to keep the concept of foreseeability in mind. Violence affecting home-based office workers is a foreseeable risk. As such, it is incumbent on the employer and the employee to mitigate this risk in a proactive and comprehensive manner.
On August 13, Crimando, along with former FBI SWAT Team Leader Tom Veivia of 302 Consulting Group, LLC. will host a 90-minute webinar for employers and employees focused on mitigating the risk of workplace violence for those working from home. The program will address the types and sources of violence for home workers, as well as introduce effective strategies for both employers and employees in reducing their risk, as well as protecting their homes and families.
“Employers are responsible for providing the same safe work environment for home office workers as for employees who work on company property. If an organization takes the issue of workplace violence seriously and has developed policies, plans, threat assessment capabilities, and training for employees addressing workplace violence risks, it must consider how those same risks might extend to the worker’s home office environment,” Crimando says.
To learn more about the webinar or to register go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/protecting-and-caring-for-work-from-home-employees-tickets114205377358. There is a 100-seat limit for the live broadcast.