Viciously Beating and Wounding a Coworker
The following incident was reported to the agency's Incident
Response Team. A female employee had broken off a romantic
relationship with a male coworker, but he wouldn't leave her
alone. She finally had a restraining order served to him. After
receiving the restraining order, the perpetrator lost control and
entered the woman's office. He hit her; she fell from her chair.
While she was on the floor, he broke a soda bottle and cut her
face with the broken glass. While this was going on, coworkers
heard the commotion and called the police. The perpetrator fled
the scene before police arrived and the victim was transported to
The Incident Response Team immediately implemented the following plan.
The Security officer
worked with hospital security to ensure that the victim got around-the-clock
security while she was in the hospital. He ensured that the hospital staff
knew not to give out any information about the victim to callers. He gave the
victim advice, reading material, and a video on personal safety.
He made sure the perpetrator's card key was inactivated, and he
had pictures of the perpetrator made for the building guards. He
coordinated efforts with local police.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
The EAP counselor visited the victim in the hospital and ensured that she
was being seen regularly by a social worker on the hospital staff. She
worked with the victim's colleagues to help them be supportive of
the victim when she came back to work. The EAP counselor visited the worksite
to let coworkers know she was available to them .
The employee relations
specialist Contacted the agency's Office of General Counsel and Office of Inspector
General and alerted them to the situation so that they could begin to monitor any
criminal proceedings. He helped the supervisor develop a notice of proposed
indefinite suspension using the crime provision set forth in 5 USC 7513( b).
The union was fully supportive of
the agency's efforts to help the victim. Since both the victim and the perpetrator were
bargaining unit employees, the union was aware of its role to represent all employees
in the bargaining unit. In this particular case, the perpetrator grieved, but because
of the viciousness of the attack, union officials were reluctant to take the case to
arbitration. In addition, realizing that this could happen to other employees, the
union officials obtained brochures on stalking from their national headquarters and
invited an expert speaker on the subject to a chapter meeting.
The employee's supervisor obtained
all the necessary forms and assisted the employee in filing an Office of Workers
Compensation Programs (OWCP) claim to pay for hospital and medical costs. The
supervisor and the employee's coworkers visited her in the hospital, kept in touch
with her during her convalescence, and kept her up-to-date on news from the office.
An agency attorney maintained Contact
with the local prosecutor's office.
The police caught and arrested the perpetrator after about 10 days. The agency proposed and effected a removal action against the
perpetrator based on a charge of "Wounding a coworker." He did
not appeal the action.
The employee remained hospitalized for two days and then went
to the home of a friend until the perpetrator was apprehended.
She remained at home for another two weeks before returning to
work. Her OWCP claim was accepted. She continues to stay in
touch with the Employee Assistance Program counselor who had
visited her at the hospital and assisted her during her time away
from the office. The counselor referred her to a support group for
battered women, and she finds it very helpful.
The perpetrator was found guilty and received jail time. After jail
time was served, and at the suggestion of an agency attorney, the
court forbade the perpetrator to Contact the victim or the agency
as one of the conditions of probation. The security officer alerted
security guards and discussed security precautions with the
victim, ensuring that there would be an effective response if the
perpetrator violated this restriction.
Questions for the Agency Planning Group
- Who at your agency would monitor the proceedings of the criminal case,
e. g., to be aware of the situation if the perpetrator got out of
jail on bail or probation?
- Does your security office maintain liaison with and keep in Contact
with agency or local law enforcement authorities in order to coordinate
efforts in these type of cases?
- Do you have a procedure in place for cleaning up the scene of the incident
after investigators are finished examining it?
- Would employees at your agency know who to call in an emergency --
for example, 911, the Federal Protective Service, in-house security, or
in-house law enforcement?