IS THE “ME GENERATION” MENTALITY TO BLAME FOR RECENT WORKPLACE VIOLENCE?

01May14

Full length of young men and women holding cellphoneIs the “me generation” mentality to blame for the recent increases in workplace violence? It seems that when someone does not get their way, for instance an employee does not feel respected by management, gets terminated or does not get the raise they think they deserve, that the reaction today is to resort to violence. Such may have been the case in the recent violence that erupted at the Fed Ex Ground facility in Kennesaw, Georgia on the morning of April 29, 2014.
On that day, Fed Ex Ground became one of the latest employers to find itself reeling after sustaining an incident of workplace violence involving an active shooter. What happened appears to be that the shooter, now identified as Geddy L. Kramer, a 19 year old that worked loading boxes at this facility, came into work with an assault rifle dressed in all black with bullets taped to his chest. He opened fire on a security guard and other employees at this Fed Ex ground facility injuring four employees, and critically injuring two other employees prior to taking his own life.

In the aftermath, his co-workers have suggested that he may have been having problems at work which might have been the reason behind this shooting. Allegedly, he may have been upset feeling that management at the facility had mistreated him and did not pay him enough. It used to be if you felt that way, you would quit and go find yourself another job. Now it appears that this “me generation” mentality makes these employees feel justified in taking their anger out on everyone at work with an assault rifle as their weapon of choice.

What solutions does HR have for preventing incidents of violence similar to this one? In addition to utilizing better hiring practices aimed at conducting background checks on those that are hired, HR needs to provide workplace violence prevention training to the entire workforce. This training can help employees to understand the warning signs and report an employee who shows such signs to management to hopefully avoid having an active shooter scenario in the workplace. This training can also help employees to be better prepared to respond to an active shooter scenario and to know how to protect themselves in the event of an incident of violence such as happened at Fed Ex Ground on April 29, 2014.

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