If Workplace Violence is an Issue, Why Do So Few Companies Address It?


New Haven police chief James Lewis recently called Yale student Annie Le’s death “an issue of workplace violence.” Raymond Clark III, accused of choking Le in a Yale lab, then stuffing her body into the building’s wall, was charged with murder earlier today. Police are currently running tests to see if Clark’s DNA matches the crime scene.

Lewis said the following with regards to workplace violence:

“It is important to note that this is not about urban crime, university crime, domestic crime but an issue of workplace violence, which is becoming a growing concern around the country,” Lewis said.

Yale president Richard Levin sent a similar message:

“This incident could have happened in any city, in any university, or in any workplace. It says more about the dark side of the human soul than it does about the extent of security measures.”

In 2005, the US Department of Labor ran a survey on US workplace violence prevention. In it, they found that almost 5% of the 7.1 million existing US businesses had an “incident of workplace violence” in the past 12 months. 1/3 of reported incidents had a negative impact on company workforces, but most businesses didn’t change violence prevention procedures after the incident.

More than 70% of US businesses lacked a program for addressing workplace violence.

If Annie Le’s murder qualifies as a workplace violence issue, why don’t more companies put programs in place to address potential problems? Yale itself has workplace violence prevention measures.

The Annie Le case proves prevention doesn’t always work. Still, businesses would be prudent to put some kind of program in place. What do they have to lose?

Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.