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Workplace violence cited in Yale case

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

According to reports, workplace violence has been cited in the murder of Yale University student Annie Le. Unfortunately, there were no signs that the lab technician arrested for the murder and worked with Le, Raymond Clark III, showed any visible signs that he could be murderous. New Haven Police Chief James Lewis told reporters, the crime is an “issue” of workplace violence – something “which is becoming a growing concern around the country.”

The 24 year old Clark had been employed as a lab technician since 2004. Nothing in his employment history indicated the propensity for committing such a violent crime, according to Yale University president Richard C. Levin. Stress is a known contributor to workplace violence that also includes aggressive and subversive behavior, lying, theft, and absenteeism.

According to the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Health & Safety Administration, workplace violence can result in homicides, but most cases are from assault. “Violence in the workplace is a serious safety and health issue. Its most extreme form, homicide, is the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the United States”.

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Most fatal workplace violence events “occur in hospitals, nursing and personal care facilities, and residential care services”. Sixty nine homicides were report in health services from 1996 to 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics.

According to the Department of Justice's (DOJ) National Crime Victimization Survey for 1993 to 1999, 12.6 per 1000 employees are victims of workplace violence annually – those statistics are also likely to be underestimated and underreported.

Several reasons contribute to workplace violence, that is more prevalent among health care workers - but it usually is not from co-workers, but rather as the result of caring for violent patients, access to money at hospitals and clinics, spawning robberies, dimly lit parking lots, and isolation of employees performing treatments and examinations.

Workplace violence is cited for the murder of Annie Le, and the statistics are rising for workplace non-fatal assaults. Homicides are rare. According to the USDA Handbook on Workplace Violence Prevention and Response, there is “no specific profile of a potentially dangerous individual”, as seems to be the case in the murder of Annie Le.

Workplace Violence