Encyclopedia of Victimology and Crime Prevention. Fisher BS, Lab SP, eds., Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010 Feb; :1084-1086
Workplace violence encompasses a broad array of physical and nonphysical behaviors intended to harm individuals while they are on the job. The workplace is considered any location where an employee performs a work-related task or duty. Acts of violence such as physical assaults or threatening behaviors represent a significant health and safety risk to workers. The Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that around 1.7 million workers in the United States are the victims of workplace assaults, and that homicide is now the fourth leading cause of death while on the job. Workplace bullying refers to situations where employees are subjected to frequent, persistent mistreatment that includes overtly aggressive or hostile behaviors (e.g., being pushed or being yelled at) as well as more covert or passive acts such as being ignored, being undermined, being lied to, belittling, exclusion or social isolation, withholding information, and sabotage. Several factors have been shown to be associated with workplace violence, including contact with the public, exchanging money, working at night, transporting passengers, delivering goods or services, working alone or in small numbers, and working with potentially violent or unstable individuals. Workplace bullying has been shown to be associated with poor organizational climate, lack of organizational justice, role conflict, high workload, interpersonal conflicts, lack of social support, and leadership style. Workers in health care, law enforcement, retail trades, as well as social and other service professions are particularly at risk for workplace violence and bullying.