Written Report on Workplace Violence

Assignment 2: RA 2: Written Report

You have completed your assessment of the employee and have the required information about the employee. You also have the information about three other predictors you reported in M4 Assignment 1 (order 97038) You have also administered a risk assessment instrument, and the employee has been classified to be at moderate risk for assaultive behavior in the next five years.

On the basis of the results of your investigation, in a mock report format based on the module readings and vignette data for the assignment tasks of the previous modules, create a 10- to 12-page report addressing the following:

The results of the interview with the employee (a description of your mock interaction with and the mental status examination of the employee)

A specific review of the employee’s predictors of violence factors

An analysis of the validity and reliability of risk assessment instruments for making predictions of violence appropriate for the employee’s assessment

The mock conclusions you arrived at about the employee’s potential for showing violence, while explaining reasons for such conclusions

Some cautionary statements about the tenuousness of your conclusions, given the low base rate of violence in the employee

In addition, in your report, identify at least one potential victim of the employee. Make a recommendation for action by the company to protect that victim. Prepare your findings and recommendations in such a way that the employee cannot effectively sue the company for slander. An axiom of law is that negative statements do not constitute slander if they can be supported. Your job is to write the report in such a way (with supportable conclusions) that the company can establish that its actions were prudent.

Described clearly the results of the interview with the employee.

Provided a logical review of the employee’s predictors of violence.

Analyzed the validity and reliability of the risk assessment instrument for making predictions on violence.

Provided conclusions about the employee’s potential for showing violence.

Provided relevant cautionary statements about the tenuousness of your conclusions.

Identified at least one potential victim of the employee and recommended an action by the company to protect that individual.

Wrote in a clear, concise, and organized manner; demonstrated ethical scholarship in accurate representation and attribution of sources; and displayed accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Sample paper

Written Report on Workplace Violence

Following a spate of threats to employees, Bob is now in the category of moderate risk for assaultive behavior. This necessitated a thorough interview that will help shed light on Bob’s condition. It is important to identify the risk of violence among any employee who poses as a threat to others. A serious threat of violence has the possibility of destabilizing the organization by disrupting normal business operations. During the assessment, it is important for the interviewer to evaluate whether there are certain workplace factors contributing to the behavior of the employee. The assaultive behavior could arise from a range of factors such as personal factors and threats in the workplace environment. This section describes the mock interview with Bob, in attempt to identify the factors motivating this behavior.

The Results of the Interview with the Employee

The interaction with Bob involved observation of his appearance, attitude, behavior, speech & language, thought process, and level of consciousness. The evaluation of appearance examines the posture, clothes, gait and grooming. Bob appears to be well groomed and wearing the appropriate work clothes. His posture and gait mirror those of a normal person. The specific indicators of behavior included in the assessment were mannerisms, ability to adhere to commands, eye contact, compulsions, gestures, and psychomotor activity. These indicators are vital in predicting workplace violence (LeBlanc & Kelloway, 2002). The observation indicates that Bob exhibits certain behavioral issues. These include poor eye contact, high psychomotor activity, and inability to follow commands. Bob holds a negative attitude in that he tends to be defensive and hostile. He also seems uncooperative basing on his interaction with other employees. According to Vrij and Mann (2004), uncooperativeness is one indicator of deception. This is due to false beliefs he harbors towards his colleagues.

His consciousness level indicates that he is alert and vigilant. This is perhaps in anticipation that his colleagues could be planning evil on him. Bob speaks in a high tone and tends to be spontaneous when talking. His thought process appears incoherent. Bob appears to have loose associations in which he bears certain ideas but with little or no logical connections. For instance, he believes that some employees are planning “evil” against him, and for no apparent reason. Bob seems sad and indifferent, perhaps due the isolation he is facing from his colleagues due to the aggressive behavior. He also seems anxious, which could be an indicator of an underlying psychological issue. His moods also seem to fluctuate frequently than normal. Videotaping during the interview is important because it will provide an opportunity to review what transpired during the interview process (Sullivan, 2010). Failure to record the interview process may result in disputes later when Bod denies saying some things.

The second phase of the interaction involved a set of interview questions meant to assess Bob’s mental health condition. The first set of questions examines his orientation. This helps in identifying whether Bob is suffering from a severe mental condition. The following were the review questions relating to orientation.

  • What is your full name please?
  • Please give us the full date today.
  • Briefly describe where we are.
  • How do you describe the current situation?

Bob was able to provide answers for these questions. This basic examination indicates that he is not suffering from a mental impairment. This is because he is able to answer basic questions concerning himself and the immediate environment. However, this is not an indication that Bob is not suffering from one or more form of psychotic disorders.

The next set of questions aims at examining the mood or the inner feeling concerning the employee in question. The following five questions relates to examination of mood.

  • How are you feeling today?
  • Have you felt discouraged, low, or even depressed during or outside of work? If yes, what was the reason for that?
  • Have you felt angry or irritable of late? If yes, what was the main reason behind this feeling?
  • Do you feel energized to work?
  • How would you describe your spirits?

These questions help in examining mood. Mood relates to the general state of inner feeling that a person experiences. The employee reports feelings of anger, irritability, and low spirits. The employee also seems depressed, which indicates presence of emotional issues or problems. There is a high possibility the employee is having serious emotional challenges.

In the next part of the interview, the focus is on examining the thought content of the employee, both through questioning and observation. The following is the list of questions for the employee.

  • Do you think there are people or a group of people in this organization who plan to harm you in one way or another? If so, why do you think they wish to harm you?
  • Are there things that you are frightened of, either in the organization or outside of this organization?
  • Are there thoughts that you really find hard getting out of your head?
  • Have you ever perceived other employees could be stealing your thoughts and then broadcasting them out?
  • What do you think is the major cause of disagreements in the organization?
  • Do you ever feel that no one seems to understand you in the organization?
  • Do you feel you could be more successful was it not for other people trying to bring you down?

These questions can help in examining the level of paranoia in the patient. People suffering from paranoia-related complications often show one or more of the symptoms. They are more likely to harbor the belief that someone could be plotting to harm them. They often hold irrational beliefs concerning other people and could hold grudges for a long period. In extreme cases, people suffering from paranoia may experience both auditory and visual hallucinations (Puri & Treasaden, 2009). Bob shows symptoms that are characteristic of paranoia. For instance, he believes that there are people in the organization plotting to harm him. He insists that he must protect himself from these people at all costs. In addition, he holds grudges with some employees, adding that no matter what, he cannot forgive them. Some of these employees do not even know that Bob has a grudge against them.

It is also important to examine the tendency to commit suicide or homicide. The following questions are key in examining Bob’s suicidal and homicidal characteristics.

  • Have you ever felt that life is not worth living? What do you think is the meaning of life?
  • Have you ever thought about taking away your own life?
  • Do you believe that revenge is the ultimate way to get even with those who have wronged or crossed your path in some way?
  • Have you ever thought of hurting others?

Bob indicates that live is meaningless and that there is nothing he cherishes in this life. This is an indication that he could be suicidal. He also insists on getting even with all those who have crossed his path in one way or another.

Specific review of the employee’s predictors of violence factors

A number of predictors of violence factors that can help determine the likelihood of an employee engaging in violent workplace behavior. This section of the report examines the employee’s predictors of violence factors.

A history of violence: The employee’s history of violence is a good predictor of his likelihood to engage in violence. During the examination process, the interviewer should establish whether the employee has a history of violent behavior (LeBlanc & Kelloway, 2002). The interviewer can enquire from colleagues or management in order to learn more about past behavior. Another important source of information is arrest records relating to the employee. If the employee has a history of arrests for violent behavior, then it follows there is a high likelihood he will engage in violent behavior. Incidences of aggression towards fellow employees or other individuals indicate a higher possibility of engaging in a similar behavior.

Psychiatric history: The employee’s psychiatric history is another important factor in predicting violence. If the employee has known psychiatric issues such as schizophrenia, he may be likely to engage in aggressive behavior (Lee, Kim, & Park, 2014). Another factor in this category is a family history of psychiatric disorders. If there is a history of psychiatric disorders in the employee’s family, he may be at increased risk of aggressive behavior. This is because some psychiatric disorders run in families from one generation to another, through genetic transmission. There is an increased risk of developing a psychotic disorder if one is borne of a parent with a form of psychosis.

Alcohol and substance abuse: This is another important predictor of violence factor. A history of alcohol abuse significantly increases the risk of the employee engaging in violent behavior in the organization (Greenberg & Barling, 1999). Numerous studies indicate that alcohol and substance abuse increases the likelihood of an individual portraying aggressive behavior. Psychiatric factors and drug and substance use can further complicate the issue, increasing the risk of violence even further.

Behavioral factors: Certain behavioral factors could predispose the employee to increased risk of violence. An employee who tends to be a loner, has low self-esteem, is depressed, or is paranoid is at increased risk of violence (LeBlanc & Kelloway, 2002). Often, these negative behavioral characteristics are indicators of deep psychological issues affecting the employee. An employee who stays alone is at risk of developing depression, social anxiety, and committing suicide. Paranoid behavior also increases the risk of violence. In serious cases, paranoia leads to hallucinations, which affects an individual’s ability to differentiate reality from illusions.

Organizational factors: A number of organizational factors predispose the employee to increased risk of aggressive behavior. The management style in the organization may determine the risk level of aggressive behavior. In organizations employing dictatorial style of leadership, the employees may experience significant job stress, resulting to violent behavior (LeBlanc & Kelloway, 2002). Too much pressure on workers can lead to high stress levels and subsequently increased risk of violence. The manner in which the organization handles employee problems can also contribute to stress and violent behavior. Another key factor is motivation. The management should ensure that it maintains appropriate motivation levels among employees by offering equal opportunities for promotion, training and development, and by providing proper remuneration that reflects industry standards. Situational factors within the organization are also important in this case. Some of these factors include missing a promotion, demotion, poor work review, and other factors.

An analysis of the validity and reliability of risk assessment instruments

The validity and reliability of predicting violence depends on a range of complex factors. For instance, if an event is rare, it becomes more difficult to make a prediction. Various risk assessment tools apply in making predictions of violence among individuals. One of the common instruments is the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG). VRAG has a high validity and reliability levels (Folino, 2015). The validity of the instrument occurs through its ability to replicate test results. In addition, this instrument has a high predictive accuracy, which confirms its reliability. Predictive accuracy is the ability of the instrument to predict behavior of individuals in an accurate way. The VRAG has a high performance and discrimination validity, which enables users to identify non-recidivists and recidivists involved in violent acts (Folino, 2015). Voluminous study findings indicate that the VRAG shows high validity and reliability in the assessment of recidivism among violent offenders. The VRAG comprises of 12-items. Its validity was replicated using a German sample. The instrument has a relative operating characteristic of 0.76 (Folino, 2015).

Another risk assessment instrument is the Historical Clinical Risk Management-20 (HCR-20). This instrument is useful in assessing the risk of violence among individuals with psychiatric problems. The instrument includes three subscales; historical subscale, clinical, and risk management subscale (Douglas, 2014). Studies indicate that the HCR-20 has a good interrater reliability. For instance, the instrument records an interclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of 0.94, which is quite high (Douglas, 2014). The instrument has a good interrater reliability, with an ICC of over 0.92. Thus, the instrument has high reliability and validity. The other instrument is the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA) guide. Various studies indicate that SARA ratings show excellent discrimination between violent and non-violent offenders (Douglas, 2014). SARA ratings also show a high convergent and discriminant validity. Another instrument is the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY). This tool has a high validity and reliability basing on past studies (Lodewijks, Doreleijers, de Ruiter, & Borum, 2008). This guide helps in evaluating both the short-term and long-term risks of an individual engaging in either violent or nonviolent crime.

The mock conclusions about employee’s potential for violence

The employee has a high potential for showing violence if there is not concrete action to ensure he obtains treatment. The diagnostic impressions indicate that Bob could be suffering from psychosis. It is worth noting that psychosis results to distortions of reality and consequently influences the behavior patterns, feelings and thought process. Certain factors in the work environment could worsen Bob’s condition, leading to physical aggressiveness. Possible factors include increased workload, high stress levels, demotion, and argument with other colleagues as well as other minor factors (Lee, Kim, & Park, 2014). Psychosis leads to distortions in the perception of reality, which increases the possibility of developing irrational beliefs. Individuals experiencing delusions of reality as well as hallucinations are more likely to engage in aggressive behavior due to minor misunderstandings in the organization. Since Bob holds irrational beliefs that there are people plotting malice against him, he will likely become violent in the near future.

Bob holds resentment towards particular employees in the organization whom he terms as threats and plotting evil against him. These employees are at risk of violence from Bob, which could result from real or imaginary issue. Workplace violence is often premeditated and carefully orchestrated (Lee, Kim, & Park, 2014). Bob may target employees basing on irrational beliefs that they are responsible for his misery. He could also be of the opinion that they are in a position that is rightfully his. Although Bob’s behavior currently involves issuing threats, there is a high possibility that he could act to actualize his threats in future. This would be his way of indicating to other employees that he is serious and they should take him as such. There is need to improve safety efforts at the workplace to ensure that employees do not suffer from any harm. The management bears the responsibility of ensuring that employees work in a safe and secure work environment.

Cautionary statements about the tenuousness of my conclusions

Given the low base rate of violence among the employee, there is need for further examination to ascertain his inclination to violence. The management suspects Bob of threatening other workers, but so far, no cases of violence or physical assault have emerged. It is possible that Bob’s recent behavior is due to workplace stress, rather than the presence of a mental health condition. Workplace stress has a significant impact on the well-being of employees in an organization and may lead to aggressive behavior. Bob could be showing signs of aggressiveness due to workplace stress. Stress is a normal response towards stressors in the environment (Lee, Kim, & Park, 2014). As such, it is important to ensure that there is a thorough diagnosis of his condition before taking any measures. The management should ensure that Bob’s behavior is under close observation. The management should recommend Bob to a professional if there are signs that his behavior is getting worse.

Employers need to realize that it is necessary to accommodate employees in a reasonable manner. Thus although the conclusions of this report indicate that Bob could be suffering from a psychological disorder, there is need for the management to make reasonable accommodations. As such, the management cannot dismiss Bob basing on his threatening behavior. Nonetheless, the management has the right to dismiss Bob if his behavior is a risk to self and others within the organization. Since Bob’s classification indicates he is at moderate risk for assaultive behavior, the management should look at ways of helping Bob to avoid the threatening behavior. Bob does not have a history of assaultive behavior, which indicates that he poses minimal risk to other employees within the organization.

Potential victim and recommendations

One potential victim of the employee is Mrs. Tyler. In the recent past, Mrs. Tyler made a report to the management concerning Bob’s threatening behavior. In her report, she maintains that she does not recall doing anything that could provoke Bob’s negative behavior towards her. Mrs. Tyler reports that she was taking coffee when Bob walked towards her and made the threats that if she does not get out of his way, she will soon face his wrath. She also reports that over the recent past, Bob appears disturbed and aversive. Her attempts to identify the cause of this were unsuccessful as Bob refused to talk about it insisting that everything was okay. Behavioral cues of deception indicate that she is most probably telling the truth. Behavioral cues such as use of speech fillers, pauses, and speech errors indicates use of deception by the speaker (Vrij & Mann, 2004).

There is need for management to ensure that Mrs. Tyler does not suffer from any form of physical harm. The management also needs to ensure that the work environment is safe and conducive for all employees. In order to protect Mrs. Tyler and other employees, the organization should develop a threat response team. According to ASIS International (2005), the response team should comprise of top management members and backups drawn from regular employees. This team should be able to respond quickly to threats of violence that emerges in the workplace. All employees in the organization should be aware of the special team that holds the responsibility of responding to threats. The threat response team should also conduct training to all employees on how to defuse potential threats of violence in the organization. When employee within the organization know how to react, it becomes possible to thwart incidences of possible violence at their earliest stages.

The organization should immediately help Bob seek health care services for his psychological problems. The organization can recommend the employee for mandatory mental health counseling services and professional help from a reputable medical health organization. It is worth noting that the management bears a legal responsibility to prevent incidences of workplace violence by taking appropriate action that is within the law. One of the appropriate actions is seeking the help of qualified mental health professionals who can help in assessing the employee’s mental health status and risk of violence. If the current situation worsens, the management has the right to send the employee on a compulsory leave until his condition improves or as certified by a mental health professional.

References

ASIS International. (2005). Workplace violence prevention and response guideline. Retrieved      from http://www.ndsc.org/SiteDocuments/Active%20Shooter/WPVguidlelinesASIS.pdf

Douglas, K. S. (2014). Version 3 of the Historical‐Clinical‐Risk Management‐20 (HCR‐20V3):   Relevance to violence risk assessment and management in forensic conditional release   contexts. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 32(5), 557-576. doi:10.1002/bsl.2134

Folino, J. O. (2015). Predictive efficacy of violence risk assessment instruments in latin-   America/Eficacia predictora de los instrumentos de evaluación del riesgo de violencia en       latinoamérica. The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context, 7(2), 51.   doi:10.1016/j.ejpal.2014.11.006

Greenberg, L., & Barling, J. (1999). Predicting employee aggression against coworkers,   subordinates and supervisors: The roles of person behaviors and perceived workplace           factors. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20(6), 897-913.

LeBlanc, M. M., & Kelloway, E. K. (2002). Predictors and outcomes of workplace violence and aggression. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(3): 444-453.

Lee, H., Kim, H., & Park, J. S. (2014). Work-related risk factors for workplace violence among   korean employees. Journal of Occupational Health, 56(1), 12-20. doi:10.1539/joh.13-      0082-OA

Lodewijks, H. P. B., Doreleijers, T. A. H., de Ruiter, C., & Borum, R. (2008). Predictive validity             of the structured assessment of violence risk in youth (SAVRY) during residential     treatment. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 31(3), 263-271.        doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2008.04.009

Puri, B., & Treasaden, I. (2009). Psychiatry: An evidence-based text. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Sullivan, T. P. (2010). The evolution of law enforcement attitudes to recording custodial interviews. Journal of Psychiatry & Law, 38(1-2), 137-175.         doi:10.1177/009318531003800107

Vrij, A., & Mann, S. (2004). Detecting deception: The benefit of looking at a combination of       behavioral, auditory and speech content related cues in a systematic manner. Group     Decision and Negotiation, 13(1), 61-79

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