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Everyone, no matter what profession they are in, has the right to a safe work environment. This includes any treatment that is threatening or puts one in a submissive position. It is never OK for a boss or co-worker to yell at you, and no sexual abuse of any kind will be tolerated. OSHA has rules and regulations on the office environment and these should be posted for all to see, along with contact numbers if you help beyond a supervisor.
Workplace violence includes any treatment that is belittling, hostile, angry, unwanted or any actions that make another feel unsafe. Workplace violence is not limited to sexual abuse, temper tantrums, screaming, shoving, are all acts of workplace violence. Although workplace violence can take place anywhere, there are environments at a higher risk for violence, including ones where employees work alone, work late, exchange money, or guard valuable assets.
Consequences of Workplace Violence
Workplace violence is more than a bad experience for the people involved. IN fact workplace violence has many repercussions that happen after the act has taken place, these include things like, lost work, lower productivity, expenses involved in cleaning up, counseling, higher insurance, security detail, and many other things. Although most cases of workplace violence take place in retail establishments, gas stations, taxi cabs, they can happen anywhere at any time. Many times it is someone's personal life that is the cause, and they bring their frustration with them to work.
Preventing & Responding
If you are affected by workplace violence, start by talking to the person directly. Let them know you are uncomfortable and would like their behavior to stop. If this doesn't work, talk with your supervisor. If your supervisor is the one making you uncomfortable, contact human resources. You should never be a victim of workplace violence, and you have every right to protect yourself and your workplace.
You should always be aware of potential office hazards and the types of tasks that cause injury and strain. Re-arrange your work space to fit your needs, adjust your chair, and use a headset when talking on the phone. It is important to take breaks to stretch and move around at least once an hour.
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