After Roanoke: How to Handle a Hostile Coworker in NJ
The tragic on-air murders of two Virginia journalists Wednesday by a disgruntled former employee has many New Jersey workers wondering what they should do if one of their own co-workers appears to be hostile or dangerous.
The investigation continues in Virginia following the horrific murders of TV reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward by Vester Flanagan, a former employee of the station who reportedly had anger issues. According to an Associated Press report, Flanagan sued the station a month after he was fired in early 2013, claiming racial discrimination. Court documents from the lawsuit say the station fired him "for poor performance and an unending stream of conflicts with co-workers."
New of the incident has some employees concerned, but experts say there are steps that can be taken if they have a co-worker who struggles with anger issues, appears disgruntled or has made comments that they perceive to be threatening, hostile or dangerous.
“If a person feels a co-worker is working in an erratic fashion and they feel their safety may be at risk , they should immediately report that to their supervisors or to HR, and indicate what the activity is that they’re concerned about,” said Steve Mashel, a New Jersey employment lawyer in Marlboro.
However, he said, if there appears to be a true emergency or immediate threat and “if someone feels they are at risk, they should remove themselves from the risk, you can ultimately call 911.”
Mashel said personal safety is the primary concern and it should be the concern of the employer as well.
“That’s why you should always let your employer know if someone is acting in an erratic fashion,” he said.
If you perceive that someone has made a threatening comment to you based on your race, religion, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation, and you’re not satisfied with the action taken by your company, you can file a formal complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, within the state Department of Law and Public Safety.