Q & A – What should an organization do if it suspects that an employee is behaving violently?

Q: What should an organization do if it suspects that an employee is behaving violently?

A: When an organization believes that an employee is acting or reacting violently, an investigation should be conducted.  This can be handled by members of the employer’s Emergency Response Team that have been trained in conducting an investigation.  MSEC can provide assistance in conducting an investigation or conduct an investigation when an organization has concerns about employee behavior or incidents related to possible workplace violence.

Whoever conducts the investigation should interview anyone with knowledge about the alleged incident.  Those providing information should be encouraged to provide details.  The investigator will need to determine the credibility of the information received.  Once all witnesses to the violence or threat of violence have been interviewed, the investigator must discuss the matter with the person accused of the violent behavior.

In some instances, it may be appropriate to place the individual on investigative or administrative leave until the investigation is completed.  Once the investigation is complete, the employer will need to evaluate the information gathered and determine what action, if any, is appropriate.  If the employer determines that the behavior is in violation of the policy, the employer should take immediate corrective action up to and including termination.