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Risk Assessment of Workplace Violence: Ethical and Procedural Issues in Evaluating Employees

NCJ Number
Journal of Threat Assessment Volume: 1 Issue: 2 Dated: 2001 Pages: 1-20
George E. Hargrave
Joseph T. McCann
Date Published
20 pages
This article reviewed the current literature and examined the primary ethical and procedural issues associated with evaluating employees when determining the risk of violence in the workplace.
Responding to legal mandates and liability considerations requiring employers to provide a safe environment for their workers, companies and governmental agencies have developed procedures to assess and manage the threat of workplace violence. A primary role for psychologists and psychiatrists in these settings involves the evaluation of employees who could pose a threat of violence to others. This article discusses some of the ethical and procedural issues involved in these evaluations. It focuses on legal-ethical considerations associated with determining risk, the impact of assessment decisions on the employee’s job, requirements of relevant employment law, and with communicating results to others. It then reviews the procedural issues associated with conducting a comprehensive and defensible evaluation. Lastly, the assessment process was examined in the framework developed by the U.S. Secret Service for evaluating targeted violence consisting of 10 questions. The responses provide guidelines for professionals conducting the evaluations. The article concludes by emphasizing the forensic nature of these assessments and the need for procedures to be consistent with accepted standards for forensic evaluations. References