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Survey Finds One-Third of Small Businesses Have Experienced Workplace Violence

  • 34 percent of small and mid-sized businesses polled by HSB say they’ve been affected by an incident of workplace violence
  • A similar share say their employees have expressed concerns about the issue or reported feeling threatened while at work
  • Respondents say they fear the issue is becoming more prevalent and is more likely to have a negative impact in areas such as morale, productivity, and sales

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

About one-third of small business owners and managers said they have experienced at least one serious threat or act of workplace violence, according to a survey by the multi-line specialty insurer HSB.

The survey of 405 business decision makers found that 34 percent had been affected by workplace violence. Among those that experienced these incidents – defined as the threat of physical harm when there was the presence of a weapon, or the use of force that resulted in serious physical injury to employees, executives, or guests – half said they had damaged the company’s reputation, typically for a period of three to six months. Three-quarters said the police had been contacted to respond to the incident.

Other findings included:

  • 32 percent said employees had expressed fears about workplace violence or security, while 34 percent said workers had reported feeling threatened by customers, co-workers, visitors, or the public during working hours
  • Half said that any employee that made a threat at work would be terminated, while others said they would offer remedies such as suspension, probation, reassignment, or mandatory or voluntary counseling
  • Half said they felt the incidents were random, while 40 percent said they think stress generated during the COVID-19 pandemic will increase the frequency of incidents in the future and 31 percent said they believe workplace violence is increasing
  • 41 percent said workplace violence is having more severe consequences, such as a reduction in morale, productivity, or sales

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