clearn.png
Thursday January 23rd, 2020 2:23AM

Fears about worker shootings prompt new business tactics

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Security is not subtle at the sprawling campus of human resources technology giant Paycom in Oklahoma City.

Off-duty police officers roam the grounds, bolstering the company’s own force of armed guards. A basement command center that looks like something out of a spy movie is filled with video screens showing feeds from hundreds of security cameras at company offices across the country.

While heavy security has become common at airports and stadiums to deter terrorism, extreme measures have been out of the ordinary at most companies eager to maintain a comfortable work environment and a welcoming atmosphere.

But that may be changing, as more are now hardening their defenses with new techniques, and even new legal authority, to deal with growing fears about violence on the job.

As mass shootings have become frequent, more company leaders have confronted an absence of clear plans for protecting workers from a disgruntled colleague, even after a threat is received.

Now, spurred by an incident at Paycom, the company has produced a formal threat assessment and response guide that serves as a national model for ways to keep a potentially dangerous person away from other workers.

The company’s approach also includes a new measure based on domestic violence laws.

“This is a huge leap forward in public policy for safety in this country,” said Larry Barton, a University of Central Florida professor who teaches courses in threat evaluation at the FBI Academy. “This is a case study, for me as an educator, that I believe will be taught in business schools and in criminal justice courses for decades to come.”

The guide was the product of brainstorming sessions convened by the company with workplace violence experts, law enforcement and civic leaders, after an ex-worker made threats against employees.

A new law, enacted by the Oklahoma Legislature this year with Paycom’s guidance, allows businesses to petition the court for a victim’s protective order much like one that a woman might obtain against a former boyfriend. A judge can order a potentially dangerous person to stay away from a business or its employees, which companies couldn’t do before.

Barton, a safety consultant for private companies, said dozens of businesses as well as policy makers have expressed interest in both the guide and the new law as a way to protect themselves.

Although the number of people killed in workplace violence has remained steady at between 400 and 500 per year, Barton said there has been an increase in the number of on-the-job shootings involving four or more victims.

“This has been an especially disturbing year,” Barton said. “We’re tracking now about a 19% increase in mass shootings, which is very noteworthy.”

Among the recent high-profile incidents are a mass shooting in Virginia Beach in May, in which a city engineer killed 12 people at his office, and the fatal shooting of five employees at an Aurora, Illinois manufacturing plant in February by a co-worker.

Oklahoma has its own history of workplace violence. In 1986, a disgruntled worker shot 14 people at a post office in Edmond. Five years ago, a woman was beheaded at a food processing plant in Moore by a co-worker who had just been suspended.

In the case of Paycom, which employs about 3,200 people nationwide, the former worker was arrested last year and is facing felony charges in connection with threatening messages and social media posts. The case has been moved to mental health court, which is designed to divert individuals with a mental illness from jail or prison.

The new threat assessment guide lays out a series of factors that company officials should consider in judging a threat and how to respond.

Included are questions about whether an employee has been undergoing personality changes, has a troubled personal life, exhibits confused thinking, is abusing drugs or alcohol or has access to firearms.

Depending on how many questions are answered “yes,” responses can range from a one-on-one meeting, to termination to obtaining a protective order or calling 911.

__

Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Several stabbed near London Bridge; man detained
British police say several people have been wounded in stabbings near London Bridge, and a man has been detained
10:22AM ( 8 minutes ago )
Fears about worker shootings prompt new business tactics
Fear of workplace violence at Oklahoma City company leads to new law, guide for employers
9:59AM ( 31 minutes ago )
The Latest: Several people stabbed in London Bridge incident
Police say several people have been stabbed close to London Bridge, and a man has been detained
9:52AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Iraq’s PM announces he’ll resign amid worsening crisis
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi will submit his resignation to parliament. The announcement comes a day after more than 40 people were killed by security forces and following calls by Iraq's top Shiite cleric for lawmakers to withdraw support
9:07AM ( 1 hour ago )
Hong Kong protesters seek British support; campus siege ends
Hundreds of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists have rallied outside the British Consulate, urging the city’s former colonial ruler to emulate the U.S. and take concrete actions to support their cause
8:57AM ( 1 hour ago )
Global climate protests ahead of Madrid meeting
Global climate protests ahead of Madrid meeting; ‘Not cool,’ sweltering South Africans say
8:53AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
The Latest: Trump back in US after his visit to Afghanistan
President Donald Trump is back in the United States after his Thanksgiving Day visit to Afghanistan
7:09AM ( 3 hours ago )
Iraq’s top cleric warns against chaos and worsening crisis
Iraq’s top Shiite cleric warns of civil war after a deadly day of violence in which security forces shot dead 40 people in the capital and the southern provinces, inviting lawmakers who elected the current government into office to “reconsider.”
6:48AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump, in Afghanistan, says Taliban want a deal
Trump, visiting Afghanistan for Thanksgiving, serves turkey to US troops and says Taliban want to make a deal
5:42AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Ads assail conservative legal group over Trump’s court picks
A liberal activist group is launching a digital ad campaign targeting the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization that has championed judges appointed by Trump
6:11PM ( 16 hours ago )
China furious, Hong Kong celebrates after US move on bills
China has summoned the U.S. ambassador to strongly protest President Donald Trump’s signing of bills on human rights in Hong Kong
3:32PM ( 18 hours ago )
Activists target conservative legal group over Kavanaugh
A liberal activist group is launching a digital ad campaign targeting the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization that has championed judges appointed by Trump
10:37AM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Johnson seeks to focus UK election on Brexit, not his flaws
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is struggling to move Britain’s election debate away from questions about his character and onto Brexit, promising to bolster protection for British businesses and farmers once the country has left the European Union
8:25AM ( 2 hours ago )
World shares mostly slide in ‘Black Friday’ retreat
Stock markets are mostly lower as investors gauge whether renewed China-U.S. tensions might lead to a “Black Friday” sell-off
7:51AM ( 2 hours ago )
Publisher says he’s hearing interest in nonprofit turn
The publisher of the Salt Lake Tribune says he’s heard from other newspaper executives and lawyers who wonder if his idea of going nonprofit will work for them
7:03AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Several stabbed near London Bridge; man detained
British police say several people have been wounded in stabbings near London Bridge, and a man has been detained
10:22AM ( 8 minutes ago )
The Latest: Several people stabbed in London Bridge incident
Police say several people have been stabbed close to London Bridge, and a man has been detained
9:52AM ( 39 minutes ago )
Party like a spy: Spookstock is intel world’s hush-hush bash
It’s mischievously known as Spookstock and while many Washington insiders haven’t heard of it, the annual charitable event has become a centerpiece for Washington’s tightknit intelligence and military special operations communities
9:42AM ( 48 minutes ago )
Search in Albania quake reduced, death toll at 49
The operation to find survivors and recover bodies from Albania's deadly earthquake is winding down, with rescue crews limiting their efforts to a collapsed beachfront hotel in the port town of Durres
9:42AM ( 48 minutes ago )
Markets Right Now: Stocks open slightly lower on Wall Street
Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street as the major indexes come off record highs from earlier in the week
9:40AM ( 50 minutes ago )