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What Causes Workplace Gun Violence?

As workplace gun violence is getting more national attention and sparks gun control debate, it’s essential to understand its causes and correlating factors. While overall workplace deaths and murders have declined, the number has stayed relatively the same over the years.

On October 18th, 2017, Radee Labeeb Prince, 37, allegedly shot five people, killing three, at the Advanced Granite Solutions office at the Emmonton Business Park in Edgewood, Maryland. Edgewood is about 40 minutes north of Baltimore. At the time of this posting, Prince is still on the loose and an manhunt is underway.

The term “going postal” is used to described acts of rage and violence due to stress in the workplace, because of several postal shootings in which over 35 people have been killed since  1983. The last reported in 2006 in which six were left dead. My grandfather worked at the USPS for his entire adult career and mentioned several incidents due to workplace gun violence.

Over 2 million acts of workplace violence are recorded each year, while many more go unreported. While statistically postal shoots are a small percentage of work place violence, the most reported gun violence in the workplace is retail at 2.1 homicides per 100,000. ¹ Osha reports say that this is mainly because of exchanging money with emotionally unstable people. U.S. Bureau of Statistics Report say that between 500-600 murders occur each year, mostly due to robbing, but the second most is due to killing colleagues, clients, or customers.

The main causes of workplace gun violence are the following:

Termination & Job Security

Job insecurity such as layoffs and firings cause significant pressure on the emotional and mental stability of employees. When employees feel unsafe about the future and that their financial security is in the hands of others – some incompetent leaders – acts of passive and agressive violence occur. In 2012, a man in Minneapolis killed 3 colleagues after being laid off from his job.

Supervision & Surveillance

Feeling micro-managed leads to workplace violence. Reports saying that increased tension over workplace performance lead to feelings of resentment and a desire to seek revenge against supervisors. Creating an environment of paranoia, positively leads to workplace violence.

Work Place Changes

Changes to the workplace cause significant stress. Companies who use more part-time employees, enact salary cuts, pay freezes, and unpaid bonuses also create employee stress.

Job Specific Characteristics

Statistically, jobs in which a professional collects valuable items and handles guns leads to increased work place violence.

Time Spent At Work

The more time an employee spends at work, the more stress and fatigue they experience. Additionally, this contributing factor contributes to a greater sense of feeling victimized and a sense to seek revenge against their perceived oppressors.


as gender is a significant predictor of workplace violence, men are likely to commit acts of violence towards their supervisors in in predominantly males environments. Whereas for females, male/female ratio did not create a significant difference. The older you are, over the age of 40, the more likely you are to commit workplace violence.

Alcohol Consumption

As alcohol plays a significant negative impact on mental and emotional performance. Those who alcohol consumption are more likely to commit acts of workplace violence.²

All Contributing Factors of Workplace Gun Violence Powerfully Impact Emotional & Mental Well-Being

It’s no secret that emotional and mental instability leads to workplace gun violence. Creating an environment of mindful leadership firmly planted in the company’s core values leads to better management overall. Those leaders who do not micromanage and create trusting environments strengthened employee esteem.

Companies that encourage personal time off, work-life balance, and paid vacations are less likely to experience workplace gun violence. Creating a healthy environment that nurtures the mental and emotional well-being of its employees are likely to avoid workplace violence. Companies thrive when leaders encourage their employees to seek out solutions for emotional issues.

Solutions to avoiding workplace violence includes mindful leadership training,  that offers conflict management, meditation, and stress management strategies.

conflict resolution training mindful leadership workplace gun violence

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