Was the San Bernardino CA Massacre Work Place Violence?

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  • By Eugene Schmuckler PhD MBA MEd CTS
  • By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA MBBS

What Really Is Workplace Violence?

Workplace violence is more than physical assault — it is any act in which a person is abused, threatened, intimidated, harassed, or assaulted in his or her employment. Swearing, verbal abuse, playing “pranks,” spreading rumors, arguments, property damage, vandalism, sabotage, pushing, theft, physical assaults, psychological trauma, anger-related incidents, rape, arson, and murder are all examples of workplace violence.

Registered Nurses Association of Nova Scotia

The Registered Nurses Association of Nova Scotia defines violence as “any behavior that results in injury whether real or perceived by an individual, including, but not limited to, verbal abuse, threats of physical harm, and sexual harassment.” As such, workplace violence includes:

  • threatening behavior — such as shaking fists, destroying property, or throwing objects;
  • verbal or written threats — any expression of intent to inflict harm;
  • harassment — any behavior that demeans, embarrasses, humiliates, annoys, alarms, or verbally abuses a person and that is known or would be expected to be unwelcome. This includes words, gestures, intimidation, bullying, or other inappropriate activities;
  • verbal abuse — swearing, insults, or condescending language;
  • muggings — aggravated assaults, usually conducted by surprise and with intent to rob; or
  • physical attacks — hitting, shoving, pushing, or kicking.

 Non-work Related Situations

Workplace violence can be brought about by a number of different actions in the workplace. It may also be the result of non-work related situations such as domestic violence or “road rage.” Workplace violence can be inflicted by an abusive employee, a manager, supervisor, co-worker, customer, family member, or even a stranger.

University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center

The University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center classifies most workplace violence into one of four categories.[1]

  • Type I Criminal Intent — Results while a criminal activity (e.g., robbery) is being committed and the perpetrator had no legitimate relationship to the workplace.
  • Type II Customer/Client — The perpetrator is a customer or client at the workplace (e.g., healthcare patient) and becomes violent while being assisted by the worker.
  • Type III Worker on Worker — Employees or past employees of the workplace are the perpetrators.
  • Type IV Personal Relationship — The perpetrator usually has a personal relationship with an employee (e.g., domestic violence in the workplace).





And so, was San Bernardino workplace violence – or not; please opine?



Dr. Eugene Schmuckler was Coordinator of Behavioral Sciences at a Public Training Center before accepting his current position as Academic Dean for iMBA, Inc. He is an international expert on personal re-engineering and coaching whose publications have been translated into Dutch and Russian. He now focuses on career development, change management, coaching and stress reduction for physicians and financial professionals. Behavioral finance, life planning and economic risk tolerance assessments are additional areas of focus. Formerly, Dr. Schmuckler was a senior adjunct faculty member at the Keller Graduate School of Management, Atlanta. He taught courses in Organizational Behavior and Leadership, Strategic Staffing, Training and Development, and the capstone course in human resources management. He is a member of a number of professional organizations including the American Psychological Association, the Academy of Management, and the Society for Human Resource Management. A native of Brooklyn New York, he received his BS degree in Psychology from Brooklyn College. He earned his MBA and PhD degrees in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Louisiana State University. Currently, he serves on the executive BOD for:  www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com  and is the Dean of Admissions for www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org


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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com


[1]   Cal/OSHA, 1995; UIIPRC, 2001. For an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com


  Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™  Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™



2 Responses

  1. Chilling!
    But, not workplace violence – IMHO.


  2. Making sense of the senseless gun violence

    Mass shootings and the accompanying carnage have now become a regular part of life in America. And mental health experts warn that this steady drumbeat of violence could have major consequences for the nation’s psyche.

    There have been 355 mass shootings in the United States so far this year – defined as incidents in which four or more victims were shot, though not necessarily killed. That amounts to more mass shootings than days passed this year, far more than any other nation on Earth.

    The psychological impact is starting to take a measurable toll, experts say.
    Many Americans have been left numb by the violence, and that’s a normal human reaction, said Jonathan Alpert, a New York City psychotherapist. “That’s how we protect ourselves from trauma,” Alpert said. “We put up defenses. We put up barriers. We disconnect.”

    Some people will go into denial – desensitized by the brutality. But, many others will become emotionally overwhelmed by the gun violence, said Dr. Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, Calif. “When denial starts to lift, it can be a very confusing and anxiety-provoking time because the rational part of one’s mind is struggling with the emotional part that doesn’t want to hear the truth,” Lieberman said.




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