Special Topics

Domestic Violence in the Workplace:
Threat Management Responses

Various studies and surveys indicate the impact of domestic violence on the workplace is significant: nearly 75% of battered women are harassed at work by phone or in person.  The estimated annual cost of domestic violence to corporate America may be $3 to $5 billion.  More importantly for threat management representatives, rejected or jealous partners commit an estimated 13,000 violent acts against women at their workplace each year and are responsible for approximately 20% of the women murdered at work.

This half to full-day workshop addresses the various dilemmas and needs employers face in confronting the issues presented by domestic violence: workplace safety, risk assessment, privacy and boundaries, responding to the victim, work expectations, and workgroup reactions.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Understanding domestic violence
  • Abuser types and characteristics
  • Stalking as related to and distinct from domestic violence and abuse
  • The victim in the workplace
  • How domestic violence affects co-worker and supervisor responses
  • Overview of employer legal issues and responses
  • The role of the threat management team in case response
  • Assessing abuser lethality
  • Interviewing, communicating, and collaborating with the victim
  • Investigative methods and issues
  • Response options with abusers who disrupt and threaten the workplace
  • Security management and effective police liaison

Three types of case examples will illustrate various issues and responses specific to domestic violence workplace threat management: 1.) employee-victim of domestic abuse with no direct workplace involvement; 2.) employee-victim of abuse with outsider threats to workplace; and 3.) dangerous romantic triangles in the workplace.  A fourth case of an actual domestic violence incident resulting in three workplace homicides is presented in detail, revealing the warning signs, escalation toward violence, and missed opportunities to intervene.

This workshop is presented by either Stephen G. White, Ph.D. or Jolee Brunton, Ph.D., of WTS.

Suicide Prevention

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of suicide in the United States has been increasing since 2000, reaching nearly 37,000 deaths in 2009.  Nearly 1,000,000 people make an attempt every year.  However, up to 75% of suicidal people communicate their intent to kill themselves in advance of the act.  A small but critical proportion of suicidal individuals are homicidal.  It is essential for the safety and well-being of the workplace that those in management helping roles understand the indicators of suicide and have appropriate screening and intervention systems in place to avoid tragic and costly outcomes.

This half-day workshop is designed to help attendees better understand and prevent suicide.  Specific case examples will be used and discussion encouraged.  Topics to be covered include:

  • Suicide statistics and how they inform prevention
  • Why people commit suicide
  • Suicide, work and achievement issues
  • General risk indicators for suicide
  • Suicide and homicide
  • Types of suicide situations
  • Suicide prevention pathways
  • Major factors in lethality screening
  • Workplace suicide indicators
  • What management interveners can do: General guidelines
  • Treatment option overview
  • Threat management team responses and dilemmas: when should we get involved?
  • Possible personal reactions and issues for helpers
  • Work re-entry issues for the previously suicidal employee
  • When the worst happens – what to expect, what to do

This workshop is presented by either Jolee Brunton, Ph.D., or Stephen G. White, Ph.D. of WTS.

Bullying in the Workplace

School shootings bring national attention and bullying has been recognized as a possible precipitator of school violence. What is less discussed is that bullying is not confined to the elementary school playground or high school hallways. Bullying is an everyday occurrence in many workplaces and thrives when inconsistently responded to by management.

Aggressive, intimidating individuals use their menacing behaviors for personal entertainment, achieving personal goals, and professional advancement. While these behaviors may infrequently escalate to violence, the level of threat and intimidation, and resultant workplace disruption, can be severe. A bully’s behavior raises concern for safety in his or her targets. It can also result in violent acts against the bully, as targets defend themselves from perceived danger, or attempt retribution.

This half-day workshop is designed to help management and threat team responders better understand and manage both the bully and the target in the workplace.  Specific case examples are presented. Vignettes are provided to illustrate the issues and stimulate discussion. Topics covered include:

  • Defining the problem of bullying
  • Bully dynamics and motives
  • Examining the scope of bullying in the workplace
  • Identifying characteristics of targets
  • Effects of bullying on targets, morale, and productivity
  • Macro-organizational contributors to bullying
  • Managers who bully
  • Management intervention options and the steps to resolution
  • Indicators for threat management team involvement
  • Screening bullies and targets for violence potential
  • Creating a civil workplace: the ongoing work

This workshop is presented by  Jolee Brunton, Ph.D., of WTS.

Sexual Deviance, The Internet, and The Workplace

The issue of sexual compulsivity or sexual addiction has transcended the world of magazines and videos and entered the age of the Internet.  Individuals enabled by the world of cyberspace may become compelled to engage in explicit sexual talk and risky conduct, view sexual graphics, and attempt to act out fantasies in the realm of electronic media.

Sexual compulsivity is often a driving force by which people hope for power, intimacy, escape from complex problems, and self-validation through sexual conquests.  Contrary to the rolled-up magazine in the attic or the video locked away at home, the immediacy of electronic media has brought this behavior into the workplace.

This half-day workshop will help human resource, security, and threat management team members understand the dynamics and recognize the evolution of sexually compulsive behavior.  Case examples are relevant to workplace misconduct, disruption and harassment.  Appropriate multi-disciplinary response protocols will be delineated.

Topics will include:

  • Roots, triggers, cycles, and varieties of sexual deviance
  • The power of electronic media to increase compulsive sexual behavior
  • Detecting workplace cases and counteracting secrecy
  • Identification of cases at risk for re-offending, violence, or suicide
  • Identification of cases appropriate for professional help or other options
  • Personal and professional issues for in-house investigators and responders

A WTS-produced videotape of an offender interview will be used to illustrate various issues, including workplace misconduct.  Discussion is encouraged.

This workshop is co-presented by Paul Isenstadt, LCSW and Stephen White, Ph.D. of WTS.