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You are here: Home > Distressed Faculty & Staff > Specific Problems > The Violent or Physically Destructive Employee

The Violent or Physically Destructive Employee

Violence due to emotional distress is very rare.  It typically occurs only when the employee is completely frustrated and feels unable to do anything about it and such frustration often builds up over a very long period of time.  The adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," best applies here.



  • Explain clearly and directly what behaviors are acceptable.  You may want to say: "You certainly have the right to be angry, but hitting [breaking things] is not O.K."
  • Stay in an open, public area.
  • When all else fails, divert attention.
  • Request necessary help such as other staff, University Police, Employee Assistance Program, and/or University Counseling Center.  Ask University Police to be on-call or in the vicinity.  
  • Remember that employee discipline is implemented by the Human Resource Office.



  • Ignore warning signs that the person is about to explode such as yelling, screaming, clenched fists, and statements like, "You're leaving me no choice . . ."
  • Threaten, dare, taunt, or "push into a corner."
  • Touch.
  • Block the door.
by sebenl99 — last modified Oct 24, 2012 10:44 AM