Teachout Security Solutions


Human Threats in the Workplace

Workplace violence is on the rise across the country. As noted in the Department of Justice CRASE (Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events) Training Course, “Many believe schools are the most frequently attacked locations.” When combined, businesses, manufacturing, and other commerce locations make up fifty percent of locations attacked in 2000-2021 (Instructor Slide 19). In a study conducted back in 1994 by Fox & Levin, homicides committed against supervisors and coworkers by disgruntled employees have grown at a disturbing rate in the workplace. Violence and murder committed by employees or ex-employees against supervisors or other employees who seek revenge is an ever-growing issue in workplace safety.

This has been a growing national problem for more than thirty years. So, how do we, as security professionals, help our organizations and clients safeguard their facilities and staff from these attacks?

The first line of defense starts with the initial employee application and interview phase. Obtaining information from an applicant’s previous employers has become increasingly complex, even with signed release forms. A seasoned interviewer should conduct the initial interview and ask specific questions based on the application provided by the potential employee. Any short periods of employment and those followed by long periods of unemployment should be examined closely. Ask open-ended and follow-up questions that force the applicant to reveal the reasons for these incidents. These reasons may reveal issues with authority, anger management, or possible mental health history.

Background investigations are an additional tool for averting workplace violence. They should only be conducted by an experienced and qualified investigator. An experienced investigator will have the ability to dig into the applicant’s background, expose possible red flags, and disqualify potential problem applicants before they enter the workplace. Employers can no longer leave the hiring process to their supervisors.

Author: Michael Morgan MA. CPP. PCI. Doctoral Candidate
Teachout Security Solutions, Corporate Compliance and Training Manager


Fox, A., & Levin, J. (1994). Firing back: The growing threat of workplace homicide. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science536(1), 16-30. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0002716294536001002

Salin, D. (2003). Ways of explaining workplace bullying: A review of enabling, motivating and precipitating structures and processes in the work environment. Human Relations56(10), 1213-1232. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/epdf/10.1177/00187267035610003

No Author, Department of Justice CRASE Instructors Training Course

U.S. Department of Justice (n.d.). Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events. ALLERT Texas State University. Retrieved March 15, 2024, from https://alerrt.org/course_types/CRASE

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