Violence response for leaders

Questions for assessing an employee's propensity for violence in the workplace. Consider recommending that the employee see a trauma counsellor.

Various checklists can be completed to assess propensity for violence, but it should be noted that there are no absolute methods for assessing if someone is going to be violent in the workplace.

Any concerns regarding violence must be taken seriously. If there is concern that someone could become violent, this needs to be thoroughly examined by a trauma counsellor who may be available through an employee assistance program or other services. 

Some suggested questions to consider when determining if any violent action may result could include:

  • Does the person engage in poor judgment?
  • Have they exhibited violent behaviours (in the workplace or personally) in the past to resolve issues?
  • Do they exhibit negative coping skills?
  • Are they known or suspected of abusing substances, which is correlated with violent behaviour?
  • Have they exhibited isolation, non-communication, and/or social withdrawal, which are tendencies that have been known to correlate with workplace violence?
  • If a recent criminal background check is on file, has this been reviewed? The more recent the historical acts of violence (if any), the more pertinent.
  • Have there been any progressive or increasingly problematic indicators to potential workplace violence such as harassment, bullying, threats, intimidation, verbal/physical abuse, sense of entitlement, insubordination, isolation or any other potential indicators?

    *Adapted from

For a broader approach, see Violence prevention.