Tragedy in Virginia draws attention to workplace violence

As we reflect on the tragedy in Virginia it draws attention to violence in the workplace.  Psychologists say while Wednesday we saw the most extreme extent, they say it is not that uncommon.

While the situation outside of Roanoke could not have been prevented.  Experts say all workplaces need to be mindful of the terms when someone leaves.

Many of us never imagined a situation where a news crew would be gunned down and killed on live television.  Psychologists say this tragedy brings up an important issue that could happen in any workplace.

“The notion that people try to take revenge at work for feeling that they've been treated in an unfair fashion we've known about that for a long time and these extreme forms of violence are very rare,” U of H Psychologist Christiane Spitzmueller said.

Two months ago we saw workplace violence at its worst here in Houston.  Jason Yanko a husband and father of three was shot to death after laying off an employee.  Psychologists say work place violence is often less extreme.

“At its most subtle we don't even see it as violence.  It’s more people being mean to people and then it takes different forms like bullying,” Spitzmueller said.

Experts add doing careful background checks and having certain protocols in place help.  More importantly, they say it’s all about the way employers handle workers when they’re forced to go.

“When employees feel that they are being treated fairly and that explanations are provided for how things are done, why layoffs are happening, then the likelihood of employees reacting negatively is lot lower,” Spitzmueller said.

Now as details unfold the suspect was known for taking legal action against former employers which is something psychologists say future employers should pay attention to.