The most extreme form of workplace violence is homicide, which is the third leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, there were 639 workplace homicides in 2001 in the United States. Excluding the events of September 11, 2001, there were 5,900 workplace fatalities in 2001.
Workplace violence includes physical assault and sexual assault, as well as murder/homicide.
Workplace violence is often predictable and preventable. However, because employers are typically focused on profit as opposed to the well-being of their employees, the warning signs (i.e., complaints by other employees, the withdrawn employee, threats, prior acts, etc.) are often ignored until it is too late.
This was the case at The City of Los Angeles in 1995, when disgruntled employee Willie Woods appeared at work one day with a handgun and went on a shooting rampage, killing 4 co-workers, Anthony Gain Sr., Neil Carpenter, James Walton and Marty Wakefield. The City had numerous warning signs from Woods over the years, including prior violent acts, threats, and complaints from the victims themselves. Nevertheless, the City did not act on these blatant warnings, and their inaction resulted in 4 tragedies.
Gary Eto represented the surviving spouses and families.