Personal Assistance Service (PAS) | 2200 West Main Street | Erwin Square Tower | 4th Floor, Suite 400A | Durham, NC 27705 | 919-416-1PAS (919-416-1727)

Violence in the Workplace

Important Contacts

In the event of an emergency, the Duke Emergency Web Site will be updated frequently with instructions and information about the incident, as well as campus services and resources available to the Duke community.

Warning Signs of Potential Violence

The following are some warning signs of potential violence that may be observed in the workplace. Knowing an employee's normal behaviors and observing signs in the workplace of unusual behavior changes, how he /she speaks about work, comments about self, statements about others or home life may present clues to potential violence. Recognizing potential workplace violence requires observation, information, and judgment. To assist you in this process it is helpful to have some understanding of what kind of warning signs to observe in the workplace. The behaviors listed may help you to determine the potential for violence, help you think before you act, and help you assess your own feelings about an employee in question. If you need further help you can call PAS (919-416-1727) and speak to a counselor who can assist you in identifying potential violent behavior.

Warning Signs of Potential Workplace Violence
  • Personal life stressors such as financial, marital, or family issues
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Increased frustration with one's circumstances
  • Increased belligerence
  • Obsession with a supervisor or coworker, perceiving unfair treatment
  • Recent marked decline in work performance
  • Less concern for appearance or personal hygiene
  • Changes in personality, mood, behavior
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism, confrontational, easily provoked, unpredictable,
  • Excessive crying
  • Preoccupation with weapons, antisocial behavior
  • Direct or veiled threats to harm self or others
  • Implicit threats such as "you'll be sorry" or "this isn't over"
  • Preoccupation with other workplace violent events
  • Chronic blaming with no sense of personal responsibility visits
  • Disregard of behavioral boundaries at work such as excessive emails, phone calls, and/or
  • Face-saving, attention-getting, manipulating, retaliating behaviors
  • Cultural issues

If you have concerns about an employee call the PAS office at 919-416-1727 Monday through Friday between 8am and 5pm.

Special acknowledgement to the University of Washington's HR web site on Violence Prevention for use of some material.