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Any workplace may be the site of violence or aggression between employees. Violence may be aimed at managers or peers. This may include starting rumors, using angry words, or taking physical action. In rare cases, violence may even take the form of armed assault.
Threats may be aimed against a coworker, the employer, or the work site. Threats may be made in person. Or they may occur through letters or phone calls.
In some cases, an employee may become physically aggressive. He or she may shove, trip, or punch a coworker. Other types of violent action may also occur. This may include throwing items or breaking equipment.
In extreme cases, an employee may consider workplace words or deeds “unjust.” The employee may plan ways to get back at their target. This may take the form of armed violence or arson. If the plan is acted on, harm may come to coworkers and visitors.
Violent acts rarely occur without some warning. An employee may act anxious, defensive, or aggressive. He or she may make threats. Or, he or she may overreact to a change in work policy. These employees often suffer feelings of isolation or depression. A history of family violence or substance abuse is also common. He or she may take a strong interest in weapons.