dealing with aggression at the workplace

GibsonMarshallGuy47

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I work in an office where we deal directly with the public occasionally, and for the first time, we had a woman in here that was absolutely livid and screaming & cursing at us. she even threatened us with legal action and physical violence for a situation that she could not and would not even attempt to grasp. if she would've been calm enough to allow us to clarify the situation (which we tried to do calmly, but she wasn't having any of it), it would've made perfect sense, since there was absolutely no wrong-doing that took place on our part at all, whatsoever.... I've never had to deal with this type of situation at all. I've handled angry clients/customers, but I've never had a situation where I felt like my safety would be in jeopardy. unfortunately my general manager ended up intervening with the situation and he would not allow me to call the police, which is what really needed to be done. they ended up leaving after about 15 minutes, and as far as I know, left our property. but now, I have to worry about whether or not this person is going to return and physically attack me or shoot me, OR do that to someone else that works here. has anyone else ever had to deal with something like this?
 
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tubes

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Where I live, nurses and midwives have to put up with a lot of this.
Also, ambulance staff. It annoys me to hear about ambulance staff facing aggression. They are only there to help the injured but sometimes they are a target of aggression for no real reason.
 

TXOldRedRocker

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If it's not a retail showroom, then keep the door locked. We sell retail, but online only. We have a combination lock on the door. Public not allowed in. We deal with irate customers on the phone occasionally. If they become abusive on the phone, employees are instructed to hang up on them.

If we get a "I want to talk to your boss/the owner!" It may eventually work its way on my desk. I'm the person of last resort. I generally get the person seeing things our way and laughing by the time we hang up.

An irate person out of control should be told to leave immediately or police will be called. The customer is not always right. Do not put up with this under any circumstance.

In our particular office, in Texas, 3 of the 6 people in the office carry guns. If anything were to get out of hand, we're ready to fight back.
 

mcblink

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It's an odd world where one should have to worry about someone coming into their workplace and shooting them. How did we get here?
We've always been here. You really think people who work in banks, liquor stores and gas stations only just started getting shot at or otherwise attacked or assaulted in one way or another while at work just recently?
 

Central Scrutinizer

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You need to talk with your Manager/Owner. Construct a plan. Practice it. Practice it frequently, so that it becomes rote memory. Practice it again.

This world is a shit show and it is only going to get worse, sorry to say.

Bully’s smell fear like sharks smell blood in the water. You probably have a spouse and family. Make sure you go home every night safe.

Rant off, mia culpa.
 
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Torren61

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We've always been here. You really think people who work in banks, liquor stores and gas stations only just started getting shot at or otherwise attacked or assaulted in one way or another while at work just recently?
No. We haven't always been here. The businesses you mentioned have often been targets but things have changed in the last 20-30 years. Schools and churches were not typical targets and neither were Walmarts or shopping malls. We have become a much more violent society IN THIS COUNTRY. What changed since 1990?
 

Torren61

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View attachment 123604
You need to talk with your Manager/Owner. Construct a plan. Practice it. Practice it frequently, so that it becomes rote memory. Practice it again.

This world is a shit show and it is only going to get worse, sorry to say.

Bully’s smell fear like sharks smell blood in the water. You probably have a spouse and family. Make sure you go home every night safe.

Rant off, mia culpa.
Exactly right. I work for a very large electrical and gas utility. We have a plan for active shooters. Get out, hide out, take out. The fact that management was unwilling to deal with this in a more proactive manner is worrying to me. Their number one priority should be the safety of their employees.
 

XTRXTR

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No. We haven't always been here. The businesses you mentioned have often been targets but things have changed in the last 20-30 years. Schools and churches were not typical targets and neither were Walmarts or shopping malls. We have become a much more violent society IN THIS COUNTRY. What changed since 1990?
agreed... but I think it started getting worse about the time...

[way too many political things deleted]

...Many more subtleties mixed in there as well.
 
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mcblink

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No. We haven't always been here. The businesses you mentioned have often been targets but things have changed in the last 20-30 years. Schools and churches were not typical targets and neither were Walmarts or shopping malls. We have become a much more violent society IN THIS COUNTRY. What changed since 1990?
Sensationalism in the media.

Kids my own age were shot and killed by a fellow student at a school 30 miles away from me when I was in 8th grade, in a shooting that nobody remembers anymore. I can almost guarantee that you never heard about it back then, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. He wasn't the first by any means.

This country has always been violent. Our history is riddled with it. Mankind itself has always been violent.
There's nothing new under the sun except the rate at which we consume instantaneous news via the internet.

More to the point of what you're actually alluding to though: were "mitigating measures" more or less strict in 1990 than they are today?
 
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Cal Nevari

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I work in an office where we deal directly with the public occasionally, and for the first time, we had a woman in here that was absolutely livid and screaming & cursing at us. she even threatened us with legal action and physical violence for a situation that she could not and would not even attempt to grasp. if she would've been calm enough to allow us to clarify the situation (which we tried to do calmly, but she wasn't having any of it), it would've made perfect sense, since there was absolutely no wrong-doing that took place on our part at all, whatsoever.... I've never had to deal with this type of situation at all. I've handled angry clients/customers, but I've never had a situation where I felt like my safety would be in jeopardy. unfortunately my general manager ended up intervening with the situation and he would not allow me to call the police, which is what really needed to be done. they ended up leaving after about 15 minutes, and as far as I know, left our property. but now, I have to worry about whether or not this person is going to return and physically attack me or shoot me, OR do that to someone else that works here. has anyone else ever had to deal with something like this?
That is awful. Your manager made a serious mistake in refusing to call the police, because that would have sent the right message, that is, your company takes employee safety and well-being seriously.

I am a psychiatrist and used to work in an office, where this kind of problem arose on a regular basis. My work in a prison and at a VA hospital could be especially frightening. But the emphasis on safety was always first priority in those settings.

Counterintuitively, the times when I felt the most vulnerable were at small clinics where there were not many staff to call on for backup. One in particular was very bad. A patient actually trashed my office (fortunately not me), and the administration refused to do anything about it. I resigned from that job two weeks later.

Now I work from home exclusively, doing telemedicine.

Bottom line is, if you don’t feel safe at work, you might have to find another job. Nothing is worth your safety and well-being.
 


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