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Jim Francis Provides Expert Comment to U.S. News & World Report

The Difficult Task to Lower Risk of Workplace Violence

August 08, 2010

In a U.S. & World News Report from The Associated PressJames A. Francis, T&M’s Vice President for Security Consulting Services, was quoted as advising that “Meetings to fire employees should be carefully planned, taking into account the location, how many are going to be present and what should be done if there is any potential for violence.”

Responding to questions he received following the attack that occurred this month at Hartford Distributors, the Budweiser warehouse in Manchester, CT where Omar Thornton, a driver for the company, went on a rampage following his dismissal, killing eight people including himself, Francis suggested that managers consider whether an off-duty police officer should be brought in for security at a meeting in which an employee is going to be fired.

“If the employee has a violent past, the choices are more clear-cut and the planning easier,” he said.  “ You certainly then ought to expect that there is potential for additional violence.”

The question that responsible managers must ask themselves regarding workplace violence is twofold, according to Francis:

  • Do I have a Workplace Violence Prevention Program in place to identify potential threats?
  • Am I prepared to respond to a crisis of the proportion of an active shooter or other type of attack in my workplace?

T&M’s Security Consulting division --  which includes several former law enforcement executives experienced in the design and implementation of violence reduction strategies as well as the design and operational deployment of critical incident response plans --  is prepared to address these questions and to help companies develop procedures and protocols that better protect their employees from attacks in the workplace (including sexual assaults and incidents related to domestic violence). Early identification of potential risks and rapid responses by facility managers and employees in the event of an incident can save lives.