Christopher Locke Quoted in Article About Workplace Violence

Washington Business Journal

Christopher Locke, a Member of the Firm in the Corporate Services practice, in the Washington, DC, office, was quoted in an article about workplace violence.

Following is an excerpt:

Once again last week, a murderous gunman opened fire in a crowded American workplace. And once again, the ensuing investigation leads to the maddening, frustrating conclusion that it could have been prevented, if only someone connected the dots earlier. If only the right paperwork had made it to the right desk. If only someone had said something. If only. ?...

Even if you notice a warning sign, then what? Both employment laws and modern office culture make many managers and co-workers afraid to act decisively when it comes to the touchy subject of mental health or family problems. ?...

Those fears are not unfounded. The Americans with Disabilities Act, health information privacy and anti-discrimination laws all strictly limit what actions workplaces can take once someone sees a "red flag." Massive court judgments can cripple a company that improperly uses mental health information or acts against a worker without legal justification.

"Employers are in a very difficult position," said Christopher Locke, a partner at Epstein Becker Green PC and former special agent in the Washington Field Office of the FBI. "These behaviors can affect the workplace, but they don't have complete authority to investigate them or stop them." ?...

The last thing any boss wants to do is get it wrong, and so many of the "red flags" that seem so obvious after a tragedy fall into a frustrating gray area beforehand, Locke said. ?...

"If you're seeing little problems, it's important to react to that, to try to prevent them from becoming bigger problems," Locke said. ?...

"If someone doesn't want to respond, that may be a red flag," Locke said.