Employer policies combat violent reactions to employee termination

We're digging deeper into the recent killings at an Orlando warehouse.

Monday's workplace mass shooting that claimed five lives is a tragic reminder of how volatile employment terminations can become. 

John Robert Neumann opened fire in the building of his former employer, gunning down co-workers and supervisors before turning the gun on himself. 

He was fired from the company in April in a messy severance. 

Human Resources consultant Linda Plummer of Plummer and Associates in Jacksonville said fired employees are vulnerable and often need extra support. 

"We help them figure out 'what went wrong in my last job?, what did I learn, and how can I go out and be employed for myself and my family?'" she said. 

Orange County officials said Neumann lived alone and seemed to have few social connections nearby.

Plummer said similar factors can lead her to recommend Employment Assistance programs which include access to counseling. 

"You don't want people to feel they don't have someone in their corner," Plummer said. "Sometimes a person who has been with a company for 25 years don't even know how to create a resume."

Employers are also using law enforcement more, said First Coast News crime and safety analyst Mark Baughman. 

"If they suspect the individuals aren't going to be happy about the way they're being terminated, [an employer] can contact the police," Baughman said. "A lot of businesses do take that precautionary measure and go through with a trespass warning."

Baughman said the trespass warning won't stop an employee from getting a job elsewhere unless it is violated and the employee returns to the property. He also said a good next step is notifying everyone in the building about the warning.

"There may be 1,000 or more employees and they may not all even know each other, only in passing" Baughman said. "Even some of the guards or security could let them in [the building] if they aren't aware that the person has been let go."  

U.S. Department of Labor statistics show workplace homicides rose by 2 percent between 2014 and 2015 to 417 cases nationwide. Fatal and non-fatal shootings increased by 15 percent from 2014 - 2015.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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