Violence in the Workplace: It Can Happen to Anyone

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Flanagan was let go from WDBJ two years ago. He tweeted about his issues with the victims in the past.

What happened to reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward brings up the concern of dealing with disgruntled workers.

“If somebody makes a threat of violence, if they mention a weapon, or if they have some type of plan that they relayed to a coworker or supervisor, those are things that need to be taken very seriously,” says Lt. Michael Mitchell of Fargo Police.

What happened in Roanoke, Virginia can happen anywhere. And it brings up the issue of dealing with disgruntled employees.

“If there’s information that a person can get violent we will respond to those and be in the building or in the area or parking lot when that termination actually occurs,” Mitchell says.

One local therapist says she deals with many people who have been fired.

“Whether or not they felt that it was unfair that they were let go or that they somehow felt that they were inept in some way and couldn’t handle the job at hand, I think it’s a complex sort of issue for individuals,” says Julie Windahl of Family Institute in Fargo.

But employers should not ignore these reactions.

“The first thing I would suggest is for kind of addressing that right away with the employee saying we’re really concerned that you might be struggling with this news. Is there anything that we can do to help make this a better transition,” Windahl says.

And any threat of violence has to be taken seriously.

“The violence that we see is typically something that’s progressive. It will start off with a threat of violence and then there may be some physical encounter between coworkers,” Mitchell says.

If an employee ever feels uncomfortable, they are encouraged to contact police.

To join in on the conversation about Alison and Adam, you can share your thoughts using #WDBJStrong.