Would your workforce know what to do in the face of threatening employee behavior? Would your human resources team know how to respond to reports of a violent coworker? Perhaps most crucially of all, would you?
Astoundingly, more than half of American employees report being unaware or unsure of their employer’s emergency preparedness plans, and around a fifth don’t know what they would do if they witnessed or were directly involved with an instance of workplace violence.
These numbers suggest that employers are dropping the ball, which is surprising given that American businesses lose somewhere in the range of $250 to $330 billion every year to the fallout of such incidents. From lost productivity and absences through to liability and litigation—which can result in average legal costs ranging from $500,000 for out-of-court settlement to $3 million for a jury award settlement—a violent or threatening employee, customer, or other individuals can represent a huge threat to any enterprise.
What to Do If You Experience Violence or Threats in the Workplace
Being able to recognize an immediate danger of violence or threatening behavior is a skill, and most employers need to engage external specialists in order to identify potential vulnerabilities, minimize risk, and provide tailored training to suit their unique enterprise. A violence and threat assessment is a great place to start in this endeavor—but what should you do if preventative and reactive strategies are not fully implemented and an incident occurs on your watch?
Workplace violence is an umbrella term that encompasses not only physical attack, but also verbal abuse, intimidation, threatening behavior, bullying, discrimination, and more. While these non-physical acts may not seem so dangerous, they can be warning signs of further risk ahead. This makes it critical to enforce a zero-tolerance policy and encourage reporting. All incidents of workplace violence or threatening employee behavior should be reported and investigated, no matter how large or small.
Behavioral red flags should be responded to with responsible human resources investigations, including observation, fact-finding, interviewing, documenting, discipline, and reporting in alignment with company policies and legal obligations. However, when threatening or violent behavior escalates, it is important to react promptly and take any threat seriously:
If a threat is made, secure your own safety and the safety of others
If you suspect that persons or premises may be in danger, contact the authorities by dialing 911
Seek supervisory and security team support in responding to any perpetrator of workplace violence or threats
Cooperate with responding law enforcement personnel
Following Workplace Violence and Ensuring Future Prevention
Whether an incident of workplace violence results in injury or not, it is vital to understand how it took place and take steps to avoid repetition. In achieving this goal, a corporate culture investigations specialist can be an essential ally. Here at Lauth Investigations International, we provide a spectrum of workplace investigations services that aim to aid businesses not only in their reactive human resources investigations but also in proactive risk mitigation.
Preventing workplace violence can be tackled from a number of different angles. A comprehensive violence and threat assessment can pinpoint vulnerabilities and provide insight for future training and security practices. Meanwhile introducing detailed background checks for new employees can help to avoid hiring someone with a dark past, and a corporate culture audit can support the permanent elimination of toxic behavior in the workplace. Would you like to know more about how the corporate team here at Lauth Investigations International can help you keep your workplace safe, supportive, productive, and prosperous? If so, connect with us today for a no-obligation chat about your unique workplace violence prevention needs.
Every year across the United States, white collar crime affects over 35% of American businesses, resulting in losses that some believe run into the trillions. And yet, prosecutions plummet with each passing year, and only a few thousand perpetrators are brought to justice annually.
This might seem like a mystery, but the hard truth is that the vast majority of victims prefer not to disclose this kind of crime. In fact, it is believed that as many as 90% of instances are never reported to the authorities. While that may seem shocking to some, it isn’t hard to imagine why countless organizations wouldn’t want details of a white collar crime scandal hitting the headlines. So, who can a business owner turn to in the name of not only investigating but also preventing white collar crime? The perfect ally is the private corporate investigator—and here’s why.
Professional Investigators In Your Corner to Combat White Collar Crimewith Workplace Investigations
While it may be some comfort to know that skilled corporate investigators are at hand to roll out their forensic accounting, surveillance, and evidence-gathering skills if your business ever falls prey to a white collar criminal, a far more appealing option is to avoid this danger altogether. So, what can be done to mitigate the risk of white collar crime in the first place?
Strong Entry and Exit Procedures
A key element of preventing white collar crime is not allowing potential perpetrators across the threshold in the first place. In this area, licensed corporate investigators are uniquely positioned to subject potential recruits to comprehensive background checks. While your internal human resources oversight may only stretch to data in the public sphere, we can delve into many of the same databases used by law enforcement and uncover any skeletons hidden within or beyond your candidate’s resume.
Of course, when an employee exits your enterprise, a cautious and inquisitive strategy can also be of value. Not only is this an excellent opportunity to mitigate the risk of disgruntled ex-employees, but those leaving can also provide valuable insight into workplace toxicity that leadership might have missed. If workplace investigations are already underway, a professional investigator may be able to provide interview support during this process.
Establishing a Resilient Corporate Culture
How healthy do you believe the culture is within your workplace? Are your teams home to great communication, cooperation, and mutual respect—or have toxicity, bullying, and small-scale employee theft been allowed to fester? Crucially, poor corporate culture is a recipe for a diversity of business-crippling issues, ranging from theft and malingering through to workplace violence and white collar crime. A corporate culture audit conducted by professional investigators is ideal for revealing exactly what the current landscape is and developing a clear plan to course-correct as required.
Prevention and Detection Mechanisms
If you don’t already have tight control systems and a clear ethical framework built into your day-to-day operations, now is the time to start. Identifying opportunities to improve prevention protocols can be achieved alongside a wider-arching violence and threat assessment for your workplace.
Crucially, a cohesive culture of shared responsibility, strategic oversight, and procedural awareness is foundational to the well-being of employees and enterprise alike. So too is an ever-available reporting mechanism so that white collar criminality can be revealed through the regular opportunity for employees to provide open feedback. Your employees can be your gravest threat or your greatest ally—so choose wisely!
What to Do if You Suspect White Collar Crime
Even with the strongest prevention strategies, no business can be entirely safe from the threat of white collar crime. Vitally, if you suspect that all is not as it should be, taking action immediately is essential. Moving fast is a must in response to these kinds of crimes, because time wasted can mean assets bleeding away. Similarly, any delay can allow perpetrators to quickly cover their tracks. If you require assistance in the launching of fast, discreet, and impactful workplace investigations, the corporate team here at Lauth Investigations International is ready to assist. Our seasoned and expert investigators can dive into digital investigations, surveil your suspect, secure and document evidence, and even go undercover if required to reveal the truth. From there, we can provide guidance on how to navigate legal obligations and negotiations and give expert testimony should litigation occur. Unlike law enforcement, our loyalty lies with our clients first—so reach out today and gain a true ally in the fight against white collar crime.