MO Plant Shooting: Does Recession Affect Workplace Violence?


The shooting at ABB Group in St. Louis yesterday that ended with four people dead, including the shooter, raises the prospect that the recession could be a strong contributor to workplace violence, says the Christian Science Monitor. The shooter, Timothy Hendron, was among several employees suing the company and its trustee over “unreasonable and excessive fees” related to their retirement benefits. The federal trial was under way in Kansas City and was expected to last three weeks.

Hendron had worked at ABB, a company that makes electrical transformers, for 23 years. The downturn in the economy may be creating more circumstances that lead to violent outbursts, says Larry Chavez, an expert on workplace violence. “There's more pressure put on people recently because of the economy,” he says. “More people have faced a dissolving of their whole career. It's too hard to face for some people. When you have 23 years invested, that's a lot.” There are no hard data connecting violence with economic downturns, but periods of economic difficulty have been linked to increases in violent behavior.

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