More than 2 million Americans each year report being victims of workplace violence, according to the federal government. Many more cases go unreported.
“The point of termination is perhaps the greatest opportunity for deadly workplace violence,” said Kathleen Bonczyk, the founder and executive director of the Florida-based non-profit Workplace Violence Prevention Institute.
Bonczyk said the firing of longer-term employees can involve the greatest risk.
“It’s almost like a divorce from a family,” she said. “Americans today tend to spend more time at work than they do even at home. They tend to have more lunches, dinners, meals, time spent with their coworkers. You’re severing perhaps the most stable relationship that the employee may have.”
In 2017, about 77% of workplace homicides involved a firearm, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, even as workplace homicides decreased over the past decade, the number of killings has increased in recent years.