Avoiding Violence

March 16, 1992|By Knight-Ridder News Service

Careful hiring can prevent violent firing, says security consultant Steve Kaufer, who offers clues to violent behavior and ways to keep a lid on it.

Mr. Kaufer, president of Inter/Action Associates Inc. of Palm Springs, Calif., has some tips for employers:

* Screen potential employees thoroughly before hiring. Don't take information on the employment application at face value.

* Give job applicants psychological tests to "screen out potential problems."

* Be wary of workers who are chronically disgruntled, repeatedly violate company policies, have an "everyone is against me" attitude or talk about past incidents of violence.

* Set up a clearinghouse where evidence of troublesome behavior can be collected. Offer counseling, although potentially violent employees may not take advantage of it.

* Reprimand problem employees, so little incidents don't build to a major blowup.

* In a layoff, offer benefits counseling at the time of the dismissal. Security personnel should accompany workers and clean out their desk or locker to make sure there are no weapons. All access control cards and keys should be retrieved.

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