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women and violence in the work place

HER view of The Perdue Shooting – Women and Work Place Violence

Women and safety at work - what the Perdue Shooting can teach usYesterday’s shooting at Perdue Univeristy, home to the highly ranked Krannert School of Management thankfully only involved two people, the victim, and the shooter (get the facts of what happened here.) Though neither involved were women, the event does bring up the topic the safety of women at work and work place violence. This coupled with last week’s Philadelphia high school shooting in such close proximity timewise does grab our attention.

In both incidents “No one died” but does that make the questions of safety in schools and the issue of work place violence when it comes to women (and all men, women, children) any less important?

Whether you are for or against gun control (get some facts on the issue) – it is worth noting that more companies are takinggun control and women in the work place - work place violence  stronger, and in some cases vocal public positions in relation to guns and work place violence. In the last quarter of 2013 Starbucks partnered with Moms Against Guns and its CEO Howard Schultz issued a public statement that “Everyone is welcome in our stores, weapons are not”. The position stops short of a definitive ban…but considering the ubiquity of Starbucks, it is important in the overall landscape regarding this issue as related to corporate policy and procedures,  read the details here.

The recent events and sad continued trend of gun related violence does beg asking the question – 

Should women be more concerned with overall safety at work and work place violence?

We think you should.

Given the reality we spend a third of our lives at work, and at present there is a record high of women in the work force, no time like the present to be thinking, and thinking long and hard about the issue of work place violence.

According to the Department of Laborhomicide is the leading cause of death of women in the work place, all the more reason to consider the issue of women and safety at work, more importantly to work to prevent work place violence in the first place.

So…What is “work place violence“?

According to Wikipedia  WORK PLACE VIOLENCE is..

Workplace violence or occupational violence refers to violence, usually in the form of physical abuse or threat, that creates a risk to the health and safety of an employee or multiple employees.

The Four types of work place violence include:

  1. Violence commited by clients or patients.
  2. Violence associated with other crimes.
  3. Volence among co-workers or managers.
  4. Domestic or intimate partner violence that spills over into the work place.

Safety for Women at Work

What employers NEED TO KNOW:

Some states have legislation allowing guns in the work place, others are placing bans against it. According to the Columbia Law Review last year alone (2013)…

 The Labor Department states, 375 workers were killed in shootings on the job last year. “

So – what are the gun laws at work in YOUR state, and what do you as an employer need to comply with?

Each state is different, click here to see a brief state summary* published by Cozen O’Connor, a large law firm specializing in work place and labor law,  among other areas. Click here to viewClick here to view a web site that lists the gun laws in each state which you may also find useful**.

Ways to Improve Safety for Women in Your Work Place
  1. As an employer, the safety and well being of all your employees should be paramount. Your people are your most valuable resource and your stand on work place violence ideally reflects that. For maximum efficacy your company’s messaging and position on women and safety in the work place should travel from top to bottom. 
  2. Have firm safety policy and procedures in place, review them regularly and enforce them, no exceptions. Make the policy compliant with your state’s requirements. Don’t have a policy? A good place to start if you need to create one is to find out what your state’s particular requirements are. This can be obtained at your state’s Department or Office of Labor – for a listing to find yours click here.
  3. Stay up to speed on ways to reduce the chance of workplace violence – the Department of Labor also has some great resourcesclick here to learn more.

What employees NEED TO KNOW:

Ultimately it is up to YOU to do what you need to do to keep yourself safe, to the best of your ability. Though a burden falls on the employer to maintain your safety and well being while you are on site, or working, at the end of the day – YOU need to be responsible too.

Ways to Improve YOUR Safety as a Women in Your Work Place
  1. Know the facts and the laws. State laws regarding work place violence and safety at work differ in each region, to start check with your State’s Board or Office of Labor to find out what applies where you are located. Find a listing of State labor offices and departments by clicking here.
  2. Be aware of your work place’s policies and procedures related to work safety and work place violence, if none are in place ask that they be created, and do what you can to facilitate the process.
  3. If something is making you feel unsafe, report it to your superior and document it in writing. If the threat is from outside of the work place, as in related to domestic violence or intimate partner abuse or threat learn how you can protect yourself pro-actively to the best of your ability.

When it comes to women and work place violence, there is unfortunately no magic bullet (pun intended).  We’re curious about your thoughts and biggest concerns when it comes to these issues as a woman in business whatever your perspective. Please share tools, opinions, resources and your thoughts in the comments below. We’re better together and we can make a difference, it starts by talking about it.

More resources 

An overview of Gun at Work Laws courtesy of the Columbia Law Review

Statistical overview of women in the work place courtesy of

Occupational Health and Safety Administration Work Place Violence Prevention

*Independently produced ** The views of the organization publishing the web site producing this information are not necessarily reflected by MyCity4Her, Inc.


  1. Fortunately I’ve not had to deal with workplace violence but I do hear of these stories far too often. As an employer, I do educate team members about workplace violence and how to lessen these likelihood of an event. I also believe leaders should be vigilant about explaining to staff the expectations of behavior and safety. Unfortunately we live in world where we have to anticipate the worse and hope for the best.


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