Co-workers Threatening Behavior

Question:

I am a female working in a factory setting. A male co-worker has been in trouble with the company before for violent behavior with other employees. I am a new hire, and this same co-worker told me he wishes certain other employees were dead. He put his fingers on my shoulder and told me he has a warning for me. And he also yelled at me accusing me of ignoring him. He wants attention from females and becomes angry if he does not get it. I am very uncomfortable in the workplace working with this man, who seems obsessed with being a bully. I went to Human Resources and they told me that they have had many problems in the past with that employee and they were not surprised; however they are not doing anything about it.

Signed,

Uneasy


Answer:

Dear Uneasy:

You did the right thing by reporting the co-worker to HR. Persist. Take them a list of each incident; what he said and did, when and where; and tell them that you are afraid. You or he should be moved, immediately separated from contact, just as is a practice when one reports sexual harassment. In writing, again ask for this be investigated and request a report of what is learned in and determined by an investigation. You said this individual was in trouble because of violent behavior before your incidents. If this is true, you have even more reason to insist on being separated from him. You don’t have to panic, but you have reason to firmly state that you have good reason to be scared. Work is hard enough without working scared. Your employer is responsible for your safety. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS is my usual signature sentence; however, that assumes you have the persistence and courage to voice your concerns and to learn if they are justified.

William Gorden