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REDEFINING WORKPLACE VIOLENCE
US Senate buys training series

There has been much attention paid lately to the spectacular but very rare instances of lethal violence in the workplace. In most organizations, however, the reality is a very different kind of violence. Employees deal with daily occurrences of hostility, intimidation, harassment and other damaging behavior. The perpetrators are their coworkers, managers and customers. So are the victims.

These more common manifestations of workplace violence take a daily toll on most organizations. They are the result of escalating conflicts which grow, in part, out of fear. Fear of losing your job, of not being able to keep up with technological changes, of the increased presence of people at work who are different from you in their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or a wide range of other ways.

These conflicts can lead to what psychologists call the “victimization/entitlement syndrome”. One employee feels that he or she has been embarrassed, hurt, lied to, or in some other way victimized by another. The victim now feels entitled to get even, to do whatever they decide will even the score. This can mean spreading rumors, sabotaging work, stealing or even physical assault.

In response to escalating workplace tension and fears of violence, organizations have been scrambling to provide employees with appropriate training. Quality Media Resources, of Bellevue, Washington has released a 3 video training series called “The Respectful Workplace - Redefining Workplace Violence”. The series helps employees learn how to diffuse hostile work situations, work with angry customers, turn conflicts into constructive learning experiences and develop workplace relationships that are based on mutual respect.

The series has been on the market for 2 months but is already being used by organizations ranging from AT&T to the US Navy. Of particular interest, given the recent election, was the purchase of the program by the US Senate’s Office of Fair Employment Practices. They chose the section of the series called “Managing Harmony”.

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