NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Hundreds of workplace-related homicides happen every year in the United States. The fatal shooting of two TV journalists in Virginia sheds light on workplace violence.
Bob Barucci was a victim of workplace violence and nearly shot to death when he sent an employee home for insubordination.
“Fifteen minutes later he came back came right around to my office with gun in hand, finger on trigger, and I didn’t have time to scream or react,” he said.
Barucci was shot multiple times at point blank range.
“The only time I had was to turn, and that’s what made it go through my neck,” Barucci added.
As a supervisor, it was Barucci’s job to fire and discipline people. He says it was a frightening thing to do.
“At the time I can remember being afraid, because, one, termination is never easy, two, you are fearful because of the reaction. Nobody is happy to be terminated and you are seeing the body language, facial expressions, and other gestures,” Barucci said.
Experts say workplace violence is something everyone needs to be educated about.
“Look for signs when someone is acting irrationally or very impatient about very small changes at work, ‘oh, my mailbox changed’ and they punch a hole in the wall,” said Julia Fullick-Jagiela, Assistant Professor of Management at Quinnipiac University.
She says managers and employees should know what to look for on social media.
“People are so interconnected on social media, and often times, employees will often stay connected with people who lost their jobs on social media, so that’s part of the training you can incorporate,” Fullick-Jagiela said.
According to federal numbers, in 2013, 397 people were killed while on the job.
“Documentation is key. Communication is key. This is where it is so critical for employees to report this kind of thing and for companies to have some type of anonymous kind of reporting mechanism in place that protects the person who is reporting the information,” said Fullick-Jagiela
Barucci still lives in fear after firing employees.
“In that there might be retaliation, but then you also have the fear that if I don’t speak up, something could happen to me, so you are almost in between a rock and a hard place. It is a tough position to be in,” he said.
Verbal warning signs of workplace violence include:
•Tone of voice, angry or threatening
•Unreasonable demands of peers or employers
•Irrational or nonsensical talk
•Talk of weapons or using weapons
•Shouting, yelling, or screaming
•Defiant challenges to rules and/or authority figures
•Lewd or sexual remarks
Physical warning signs of workplace violence include:
•Angry or threatening looks
•Clenching of the jaws or fists
•Pacing, nervousness, restlessness
•Tight grip on objects
•Indication of substance use/abuse, including stumbling or staggering, slurred speech
•Symptoms and signs of stress and frustration (may exhibit as frequent accidents)
•Possession of weapon, or keeping a weapon nearby
•Significant changes to appearance, character, or habits
•Violent reactions/gestures, including hitting walls, breaking objects, pounding objects
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