How to Deal With Office Vandalism

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Studies show that almost half of employed workers express dissatisfaction with their current jobs. Disgruntled workers often lash out at employers and fellow staff through harassment and vandalism. These acts of violence create hostile work environments and threaten the safety of employees. Vandals at work often destroy both the property of companies and other staff members. Employers must quickly deal with office vandalism to protect employees and maintain professional reputations for their companies.

Prevention

  • Creating a positive work environment with open communication can prevent anger in the workplace that sometimes leads to vandalism. Present all employees with clear guidelines regarding office conduct and provide them with opportunities to express work-related frustrations and concerns. Managers and employers should monitor employees and recognize warning signs of hostility, such as aggressive behaviors, resistance to company policies and frequent arguments with staff. By recognizing these events, employers can intervene early on to prevent office vandalism.

Documentation

  • Keeping a file of negative incidents will allow you to track inappropriate behaviors. Consult this file when investigating vandalism in the workplace to look for possible leads. Keeping employee records also prepares you to address a vandal regarding her actions. After finding vandalism in the office, immediately document the scene by taking photographs. Also record details of the incident, such as the time, date, location and person who reported the vandalism.

Employee-Directed Vandalism

  • Conflict between coworkers sometimes leads to unlawful behavior, including vandalism. The offender may target a peer based on work-related tensions or personal prejudice relating to age, race, religion or sexuality. They might sabotage the victim by destroying important documents or computer files or damaging personal property. Employees who encounter vandalism from a peer in the workplace should report the offenses immediately to supervisors or employers. If an office authority ignores the incident, the victim can take the matter directly to police.

Company-Directed Vandalism

  • When employees feel unappreciated, they sometimes rebel by destroying company property. They might vandalize the office by sabotaging equipment vehicles and documents, breaking windows or tagging on bulletin boards and walls. Vandals sometimes even infect companies by creating viruses in their computer networks. All cases of vandalism destroy property and, therefore, warrant criminal charges. Criminals guilty of vandalism may serve up to two years in prison for destroying property and up to 10 years for destroying data. For small acts of office vandalism, employers may choose to avoid legal intervention and just fire the employee.

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