Violenceat the workplace is a common phenomenon that may contribute tophysical or emotional harm to the victims. In 2015, journalists AliceParker and Adam Ward of the WDBJ Channel were shot live ontelevision. The reporter, Parker, was interviewing a guest at ashopping center while Adam, the photographer, and cameraman, wasdoing the coverage (Sahadi, 2016). The two were running the show inVirginia when they met their sad demises. According to Stolberg andRogers (2015), the victims succumbed to gunshot wounds. Autopsiesrevealed that Alison had gunfire injuries on her head and chest whileAdam was shot in his head and the torso. This is one of the manyextreme workplace hostility occurrences. In this paper, an analysisof the above incident will be done, including the people who wereaffected, the causes of workplace violence, and suitable preventivemeasures.
Thegunman also shot Alice`s respondent. Luckily, Vicki Gardner survivedbut had to undergo surgery. The late Ms. Parker was interviewing Ms.Gardner since the latter was the executive director of the SmithMountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. The two were talkingabout tourism in the Lake area (Stolberg & Rogers, 2015). Therelatives and friends of the deceased victims were affected by thetragic event. Andy Parker, Alice’s father, talked about howdifficult it was for them to comprehend and accept the death of theirdaughter. Christ Hurst, Alice’s boyfriend at that time, tweetedthat the two were in love and that her death made him numb. The LateMr. Ward’s fiancée, Mary, a producer of the same show, was in thecontrol room thus, she watched as he was murdered (Sahadi, 2015).This event also affected the show viewers. For example, Ms. BetsyParkins and her daughter were watching the morning show when theshooting took place. They event significantly traumatized (Stolberg &Rogers, 2015).
Theshooting of these journalists is one of the many occurrences ofworkplace aggression. According to Sahadi (2015), bullying, threats,and intimidation are other forms of hostilities that workers face.According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human ResourceManagement’s, 75 percent of the reported incidents of assault andbrutality at work involved fistfights while 15 percent includedfirearms (Goetsch, 2011). Additionally, a survey done by the samebody indicates that 38 percent of these cases were due to personalreasons, 15 percent originated from marital problems, 10 percent weredue to alcohol and substance abuse, while layoffs and being firedcaused 7 percent of the cases (Goetsch, 2011). Vester Lee Flanagan,Alice, and Ward’s shooter had been dismissed from the organizationrecently. He worked at the WDBJ Channel alongside the late Mr. Ward.Flanagan was displeased that the station went ahead to hire Ms. Alicewhom he considered a racist. In his tweet, Mr. Flanagan also statedthat Adam had reported him to the human resource department (Sahadi,2015). Consequently, he was bitter about losing his job at the mediahouse.
Thereare preventive measures that employers can take to prevent theoutbreak of a fight or violence at the workplace. One of the mostefficient strategies is putting adequate due diligence prior torecruiting workers. The approach involves conducting backgroundchecks of the potential workers. Secondly, managers should offertraining to the staff members on how to deal with misunderstandingsamongst them. Thirdly, carrying out a background check will also helpthem understand their workers’ history, and avoid from recruitingpeople with the reputation of violence (Goetsch, 2011). Fourthly, themanagement should create policies that stipulate how employees shouldrelate to each other, their duties as well as the guidelines on howthey should behave (Goetsch, 2011). One recommendation in light ofthe occurrence of such incidences, the management could hire securityofficers that could restrict unauthorized and armed individuals fromgaining access to the workplace. In the case of Alice and Ward’sshooting, maybe they would have escaped with minor or no injuries ifthey had security personnel with them.
Goetsch,D. L. (2011). Occupational safety and health, for technologists, engineers andmanagers. NewJersey: Prentice Hall
Sahadi,J. (2015, August 26). How common is workplace violence? CableNews Network.Retrieved fromhttp://money.cnn.com/2015/08/26/news/workplace-violence-virginia-shooting/
Stolberg,S.G & Rogers, K. (2015, August 28) Virginiashooting victims were hit in head, autopsies show. TheNew York Times.Retrieved fromhttps://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/29/us/wdbj-virginia-shooting-bryce-williams-victim-vicki-gardner.html
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