Threat of Violence Consultation
A threat of violence can crop up unexpectedly—but it must be addressed immediately, and in a way that de-escalates the threat. Understandably, most organizational leaders and HR professionals haven’t had to learn or practice what to do in that situation. A miss-step could make the situation significantly worse.
R3 Continuum’s threat of violence consultation (TOV) services provide a timely consultation to determine if a person poses a threat to self, others, or the organization. The main goal of a TOV is to minimize the likelihood of a violent act occurring and managing potentially violent individuals.
Sometimes discerning whether a behavior is a threat can be difficult, if a stated threat has real intention, and if so, what to do about it. It helps to have a trained consultant, well-versed in recognizing threatening and potentially violent behavior, in your corner.
When the threat of violence comes to work
Darren, the HR manager of the Texas factory, hung up the phone with a sigh of relief. He was finally going to get the help needed to protect the factory employees.
For months now, he and the line supervisors had been trying to identify the employee who was using and selling drugs on the premises. The investigator the company hired identified the culprit as Bob Morris, a two-year employee. When he was confronted with the findings and offered drug addiction treatment, he refused. With that refusal, Darren had no choice but to fire Bob. Darren thought that would be the end of it, but even as the security guard led him out of the HR office, Bob suddenly exploded.
“I’m going to come back and take care of everybody who’s telling lies on me,” he ranted. “You tell James to watch his back,” he told Darren, referring to his supervisor. “Next time I see him, I’ll have my gun and a bullet with his name on it.”
As the security guard hustled Bob out of the office and off the premises, Darren thought quickly. He knew to take Bob’s threat seriously since Bob often bragged about his expertise in target practice at the shooting range. Darren needed to ensure the safety of employees and knew that unless the situation with Bob was effectively addressed, this could be a short-term or a long-term threat.
After consulting with the company’s employee assistance program manager, Darren called R3 Continuum to have an experienced threat of violence consultant (TOVC) contact Bob.
Addressing an immediate threat
A threat requires an immediate response. R3 Continuum provides 24/7/365 support and consultation to help leaders address potentially hostile and violent people, create a plan of action, and develop defensible documentation. With a panel of threat management experts with forensic and mental health training, we offer the expertise you need.
When do you need a TOV?
- Someone makes threats, direct, indirect, or conditional
- An employee expresses a plan to hurt others or destroy company assets
- Employees are affected by issues related to domestic violence or stalking
- An employment action needs to occur, and a hostile or conflictual response is expected
The threat of violence consultation includes:
- Timely, expert consultation with key individuals on your management team
- Dispute resolution and purposeful disengagement
- An outline of clear recommendations to help the organization complete an action plan
- Helping you restore your employee morale and feelings of safety
De-escalating the risk
Darren shook his head. He couldn’t believe what Chris, the R3 Consultant, was telling him. “You want us to talk to Bob again? After what he’s done?” In Darren’s book, when an employee had been fired, and especially after making threats, that employee would be exiled.
But Chris said that from her expertise, she felt the strategy of reducing the threat, at least in this case, was to ensure that the ex-employee felt his side of the story was heard. By de-escalating that anger and perception of unfairness, the threat of violence would also be reduced.
Chris had arrived at the factory the same day Darren called. After being updated on the situation, she contacted Bob. Aligning herself with him, she told him that she’d like to help convey his side of the story to management. That opened the door to discuss his threatening remarks, and his desire to feel respected. Having a face-to-face meeting would address that.
Darren shook his head again. It wasn’t the way he would have thought to handle it, but maybe his instincts were wrong.
A few days later, Bob met with Darren and the factory managers, with Chris as the intermediary. Chris had prepared management on how to interact with Bob, and the group discussed options for resolution that would satisfy both sides.
The company offered a small stipend to help Bob as he searched for another job. Eventually, Bob underwent drug treatment and relocated with his family out of state and did not contact the factory or its employees again.
From the time Bob met with management, until he was re-settled, three months later, Chris maintained contact with him to see how he was progressing.
“Why would you still keep in touch with him? He’s not our problem anymore,” Darren asked her when she called to provide a status update.
“True,” Chris responded. “But often, those who make threats feel isolated, and that can be exacerbated when employees lose their jobs—they’ve lost part of their identity and their social network—as well as their salary, which provides social status. Rather than leaving Bob feeling angry and isolated, we provide a resource that may help him recover from the crisis as well.”
Darren thought about that for a moment. R3’s approach was completely different from what he would have expected. He chuckled wryly to himself. Imagine how much better the situation would have unfolded if he’d had R3 with him when he fired Bob in the first place.
Expertise and support when you need it most.
The TOV is one aspect of R3’s end-to-end Workplace Violence and Preparedness Training program. With workplace violence on the rise, it’s critical to know you can turn to R3 Continuum for immediate expertise and support.
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