Zero Tolerance for Workplace Violence


Recently, passengers on the Sundance Queen ferry reported observing and being horrified by an act of violence in which a captain shoved and then punched a female crew member.

Those of us who have the pleasure of commuting via the ferry knew it was only a matter of time before an incident of this magnitude would erupt.  On a daily basis passengers are treated with total disregard, rude behavior and a general lack of courtesy.

This behavior is not just reserved for ferry passengers, but also acted out on fellow crew members. However, not all crew members act in this manner.  

I have in fact spoken to several crew members who say that they are often harassed by other crew for providing good customer service. I’ve even witnessed first hand a captain verbally assault a crew member.

I did notify the owner of the ferry about the captain’s behavior for this particular incident.  Unfortunately, I still see the same captain with the same abusive behavior.  

Workplace violence is a serious problem and if left unresolved will only escalate. You only have to look at today’s national headlines and read about the current manhunt taking place this week for an army sergeant who is the primary suspect of a horrific crime against a fellow marine.

Employers who do not take a zero tolerance approach can find themselves with insurmountable legal fees and paying out large financial compensation. If zero tolerance is not enforced, employees can ultimately pay with the price of their lives.

There are five common classifications of violence which can occur in the workplace.

Employee workplace violence: violence which occurs in the workplace as a result of workplace relationship.

Affiliated workplace violence: violence which occurs in the workplace, but which stems from the conflicts of a relationship outside the workplace.

Occupational workplace violence: violence which occurs in the workplace as a result of a person’s occupation.

Random workplace violence: violence which occurs in the workplace where the offender has no apparent connection with the workplace.

Hate violence: violence which occurs in the workplace as the result of a bias against another person’s ethnicity, race, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and/or political view.

Employees should be able to work in an environment that is free of intimidation, threats of violence and physical violence. The community will be a much safer and peaceful place for it.

Shelley Williams