What are the ethical issues in this case?
Workplace violence is on the rise and can strike without a signal, the effects can be ruining to both individuals and the company involved. Workplace violence is viewed as the employee who attacks an office in an act of revenge, resentment or obsession creating an unfavorable work environment and poses as a threat to colleagues, (DeMars, 2008, par. 7). In this case, Rahming the painter received a sixty years sentence while the executive director Kohler could no longer work and went for a disability retirement at the age of 55 years.
Employers have a legal and ethical responsibility to create and sustain a safe environment from possible workplace attacks. They have a duty to ensure that the employee is fit to perform duties; in this case the employer had an obligation to ensure that the painter was in a healthy position to work after knowing that he was paranoid, he sent him for three psychiatric evaluations and took him back to work. The employer failed to take the correct measures and is reliable for negligence, (Stephanie, 2004, par. 5).
Companies have a duty to implement policies that advocate for zero tolerance for offensive behavior and mistreatment among the workers (DeMars, 2008, par. 6). Fairview had the responsibility to ensure that Rahming was not mistreated for being black and that he had a healthy relationship with other employees. His lawyer claimed that the company could have prevented the attacks and his history of conflicts served as an indicator.
Promotion of good moral and ethical deeds among workers is recommended not only to for safety, but also promotes a good workplace environment (Bachman, 1994, p. 25). Ethical practices in the workplace benefit both the business and the employees. Risks of serious workplace violence have been more entirely portrayed and known over the years, there are still a number of questions on the subject of the nature, extent and effects of workplace attacks, especially considering the uncritical situations, (Bachman, 1994, p. 23).
Who are the stakeholders and how would you prioritize their claims?
Stakeholders are individuals, management, professionals, organizations, groups or authorities who show concern in an area and may affect or be affected by an incidence (Brenner, 1996, par. 6). In the event of work place violence, employees are killed; others injured both physically and emotionally. The families of the employees are affected and spend a lot in trials and questioning. Conflicts that result to violence are connected with individuals who are mentally challenged or mentally disturbed, (Bartol, 1995).Convicts claim that stressful work environments, anxiety and worry among the employees is a major cause of workplace attacks and keeping this out of the work place can prevent such incidences (Bartol, 1995, par. 5).
In this incident, the painter who is a stakeholder claims that he had difficulties in getting along with other employees and was mistreated. This lead to the attacks and he ended up in prison. The work environment surrounding him made him paranoid; this could have happened otherwise if was in a friendly situation. The modern and the industrialized society add to frustration. Individuals who are frustrated, upset, irritated, or intimidated will conduct themselves aggressively, since aggression is a usual response to frustrating situations (Bartol, 1995, par. 6).
Fairview took him for psychological evaluations in order to help him and found that he had paranoid behaviors. In addition, the frequent confrontations with other employers could have been an indicator prior to the attacks. After three psychiatric evaluations the company concluded that he was fit to work, they never saw him as a threat to the company. Employers who relax on violence indices pose a great risk to their employees (Stephanie, 2004, par. 3).
Workplace attacks are a health concern and have an economic impact to investors. Companies are aware of these and even security cannot prevent the effects of violence on the company’s economic situation (Cadena, 2007, par. 4). Of the companies affected by work place attacks, less than 20% had taken security measures and it is not well known how many called for police help when the violence took place (Stephanie, 2004, par. 8).
In the process of picking up from a workplace attack, the company experience additional expenses in the court proceedings, liability claims, and the damage of property and injury claims by the employees. Workers have a right to a safe working condition to assure the effective and valuable care and client services and all responsible stakeholders work together in creation of such an environment (Cadena, 2007, par. 3).
Do you agree with Mr. Naughton that Fairview should have done more?
Workplace violence is common today, with increased employee attacks compared to the early twenties (Anfuso, 1994, par. 6), This is due to inconsistency in payment, reduced job security and high stress, among employees and management, this create an unpredictable environment at the work place. Therefore, Fairview should have done more to prevent the attack. Experts say that, most companies are doing a lot to prevent such attacks but more action is needed to make workplaces admirable and a place where workers are fairly treated (Anfuso, 1994, par. 8).
Many companies do not recognize risks and they don’t teach their managers how to resolve the pressures that come with an attack. Threats are ignored and when workers claim that they are scared the management fails to take caution (Bachman, 1994). In addition, analysis did show that even after a situation such as firing or an action that could cause an attack, the management always fail to take more action concerning employee security. Considering the Fairview case, they knew that Rahming had difficulty getting along with other employees and he had claimed of mistreatment and confrontations with fellow workers, more could have been done to prevent the attacks.
Often, employers fail to react when an employee who had been violent turn violent again and become a threat to co-workers (Anfuso, 1994, par 4). Rahming’s history of attacks could have been an indicator of possible attacks and his psychiatric evaluations showed he had paranoid tendencies, but the management never saw him as a threat. Many employers consider that such happenings cannot occur to them and they allow a strenuous environment which can result to workplace violence (Bartol, 1995).
According to Stephanie (2004, par. 5), most attackers target their victims and do not do it randomly as seen in the Fairview case. The company could have warned the employees in advance and trained supervisors how to get involved when a disturbing behavior is seen. Kohler claimed that he had done all he could by taking Rahming through psychiatric evaluations for they thought he was disgruntled, but his lawyer said that he had a serious mental problem which could have lead to the attack.
How would you determine responsibility following an incident of workplace violence? What could and should organizations do to avoid these incidents?
Studies done in USA TODAY show that attacks by work place killers are often harsh and final acts that are triggered by personal problems at work and in an attacker’s life. The attackers keep grudges for long and do not attack randomly but know very well who their target is, (Stephanie, 2004, par. 4).Employers should not ignore workplace violence which poses as risk to their employees. Firing is a common cause of workplace killings which the study showed is about 60 of 224 violent attacks, (Stephanie, 2004).Disagreements and arguments in the workplace also lead to such happenings. Work place violence still results from disciplinary action on poor performance or sluggishness. These incidents can be prevented by proper disciplinary procedures to such employees and striving to maintain healthy relationships among the employees to avoid grudges which might result to work place violence, (Stephanie, 2004, par. 9).
Creation of a stress free environment, job security and consistency in payment can help curb such incidences among the workers and the management. Attackers always have the victim in mind and any witnesses in the event of attack may fall as victims, in case of suspicions of an attack, employees can be trained on what to do when one of them becomes violent, (Solomon, 1994, par. 5).
Many attackers claim to be misunderstood and that they committed the crime for a good reason of which it could have been done in a better way if proper procedures were followed. Employees convicted of murder claim that the employer is to a certain extent fault and that increased security and installation of cameras can help prevent work place killings. Some work place attackers start with their relatives before taking violence to the work place, (Stephanie, 2004, par. 6)).
After work place violence, no one of the companies or employees affected is ever the same, Even though killings at the work place usually take place a few minutes, companies and their employees are left traumatized for years. Some employees have resulted to quitting the job and companies end up losing business because productivity is affected. The survivors of these killings have been left helpless not to go back to their jobs; their families go through endless questioning and court trials. After an attack, an employee can result to mental health problems and this can lead to a change in their lives. Contrary, most workers recover from the trauma, (Stephanie, 2004, 3).
Conflict training is recommended to companies to help avoid problems, (Solomon, 1994) which become the company’s culture. Communication is essential in any situation and assist in avoiding attack incidences. If workers are informed on effects of work place violence before it happens, employees will be having a feeling of safety. Training can be done to sensitize stakeholders on the subject of workplace attacks, awareness on the manifestations and the professional, individual, and the economic effects of workplace violence and how to enhance effective strategies and conditions to have a safe working environment, (Anfuso, 1994, par. 7).
Employers can establish a screening system to keep dangerous individuals from the organization when recruiting employees. This can be done by checking for criminal records and any substance abuse prior to employment creating a good work environment. Follow up of incidences can help in monitoring and warning the workers on workplace violence, having a crisis response procedure in the workplace can help employees respond to such incidences, (Anfuso, 1994, par. 2).
A company has a duty to ensure that its workers are in a safe working condition and policies put in place against any threats, intimidations and offensive behavior, (Anfuso, 1994, par. 4).
Anfuso, D. (1994) Deflecting workplace violence. Web.
Bachman, R. (1994). Violence and theft in the workplace. Web.
Bartol, C. R. (1995). Criminal behavior. Web.
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Cadena, B. (2007). Violence in the work place. Web.
DeMars, H. (2008) Workplace violence. Web.
Solomon, G. (1994) Bracing for emergencies. Web.
Stephanie, T. (2004). Managers not prepared for workplace violence. Web.