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Workplace violence: Learn to recognize the signs

August 17, 2010

Out of the 421 workplace shootings recorded in 2008 in the United States, 8 percent represented fatal injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With the recent reports of workplace violence across the nation, a new program that was rolled out by ASU Police and the Office of Human Resources last spring may help you recognize signs of stressful work situations and avoid campus violence.

The program rolled out in April provides an understanding of the nature and impact of campus violence as well as organizational policies, procedures, resources and strategies to keep our workplace safe.

“Employees play a vital role in contributing to the creation of a safe work environment,” said Jillian McManus, director of organizational health and development in Human Resources. “We want people to understand that violence is not an act, it’s a process, an observable process.”

More than 360 employees have completed the training to date and have said that it was a great way to raise awareness of the services that exist, such as the Behavioral Response Team, for employees and managers who are dealing with stressful situations. 

“The training really increased my understanding of why someone might call for support or help, not just the extreme issues, but the moderate issues as well,” said Jo Anne Sercl, administrative secretary in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

Bonnie Lawless shared that the training was a good reminder to err on the side of caution, and it raised awareness of all the services and resources available and how they all work together.

“I wasn’t aware of how much collaboration went on between the different departments to address employees’ wellbeing and safety,” said Lawless, program coordinator in the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes.

Approximately 20 presentations have been offered across all four campuses at ASU and more are planned for all levels of employees. 

“The earlier we can intervene in the process and connect people to the right supports and services the better,” said McManus. “Employees are often best situated to connect or direct distressed colleagues to these resources if they themselves know what is available.”   

Departments and organizations throughout the university can request training by contacting the Employee Assistance Office at 480-965-2271.

Media contact:
Chris Lambrakis
480/727-1173, 602/316-5616,