What should an employer do when an employee begins to show signs of aggression?

Author: Julie H. Cox

Addressing an aggressive employee may mean first attempting to make him or her feel less hostile. It is best to get him or her away from customers and other employees who may drive his or her desire to have an audience, which often increases violent talk and behavior. The employer should take the employee to a private office if possible and strive hard to use a calm, controlled voice.

Though the employer should try to isolate the employee from others, no one person should be left alone with a potentially violent individual. The employer should allow at least two people who are trained in conflict management to lead the employee away from untrained employees and customers.

Whoever is in charge of dealing with the employee should treat the person with respect about what he or she is feeling, but should not underestimate the chance that the employee may become more aggravated depending on the cause of the dispute and also the personality of the aggressor.

Ideally, a violence prevention program will have a plan for security or law enforcement to be accessed easily if the employer deems it necessary to have someone intervene.

Phone numbers for security, police or emergency services should be posted throughout the workplace and should be used if the employer feels the situation is escalating or cannot be resolved calmly.

The employer should be prepared to document the incident and take necessary actions against the employee under a zero tolerance policy.