Workplace violence occurs more often than employees and employers may realize. Such violence can have serious physical and psychological effects. The levels of workplace violence can encompass a wide range of severity. Types of violence can include threats, bullying, verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual harassment and even murder.
The obvious and potentially most dangerous effect of workplace violence is physical trauma. If the violence is of a physical nature, injuries, scarring, pain, hospitalization and even death may result. Threats of physical violence should not be taken lightly. It is the manager's responsibility to ensure the safety of all employees by eliminating risks due to threats. Investigation, counseling, termination and security might be necessary actions taken with regard to the person making the threats.
Victims of workplace violence are more likely to suffer the long-term effects of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a common psychological disorder that usually affects veterans, victims of terrorism, rape and other violent crimes. Other long-term psychological effects may include self-doubt, depression, fear, insomnia, irritability, relationship conflicts, lack of motivation and self-blame. If victims do not get the support and psychological help they need when reporting violence in the workplace, it will deter them and other witnesses from ever reporting violence again. There are a number of approaches that can help victims of workplace violence, including counseling, emotional support, time off, and medication.
The damage to the company as a result of workplace violence is not nearly as important or severe as the emotional or physical harm done to the victims, but it is still a matter of concern. Workplace violence can damage company morale. Some employees might require extended time off, or may even resign. Other problems that may occur include lower productivity and damage to the company's image. There may also be a loss of funds due to legal costs, compensation, pension payments and providing better insurance premiums.