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November 08, 2012
Report examines violence in the federal workplace

A new report, Employee Perception of Federal Workplace Violence, suggests that almost one in eight government workers observed or experienced violence at work in the past 2 years.

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The report was released by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), a quasi-judicial agency that protects merit system principles. According to the findings, over half the perpetrators were current or former federal employees, and a third were agency customers or clients.

MSPB Chairman Susan Tsui Grundmann said, “Prevention and mitigation of workplace violence is challenging. Limiting physical access to federal workplaces is not enough because the vast majority of perpetrators of federal workplace violence are individuals who, for the most part, have a legitimate reason to be in the workplace.”

The majority of instances involved threats, harassment, intimidation, or bullying rather than physical injury or property damage. Tsui Grundmann added, “These behaviors demand the attention of federal managers because they poison the work environment and may lead to more serious physical violence.”

MSPB recommends that agencies focus on mitigating violence through prevention programs and by addressing employee stress.

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