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Workplace Violence

"May have been disgruntled about a poor work evaluation."  That is the suspected motive in the recent Ohio State University mayhem that left two dead, including the 51-year-old gunman.

According to Larry Barton, an expert in workplace violence, the recession has changed the violence parameters.  The image of the violent employee has been a person under thirty years of age; the greatest threat now seems to be coming from people over the age of forty.  Recently in Indiana, a sixty-year-old employee fired two shots inside an office during a job review; faulty ammunition prevented a tragedy.  Employee assistance program counselors report that their 2009 call intakes rose thirty percent, with much of the volume related to financial concerns.

Incredible and terrifying stats:  nearly one thousand workers are murdered and 1.5 million are assaulted in the workplace each year!  A contributing factor driving those numbers:  domestic violence doesn't stay home when its victims go to work.  One study found that 74% of employed battered women were harassed by their partners while at work.

But an especially troubling emerging concern for employee assistance counselors is the fact that depleted retirement funds are forcing numbers of older employees to remain in the workplace, regardless of health problems or cognitive impairment.

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