Workplace Violence

When Dissatisfied Customers Retaliate

Not all workplace violence involves one employee attacking or killing others. Many incidences of workplace violence involve a disgruntled client or customer attacking or killing employees.

We were recently hired to sanitize a crime scene at which two people died and several others were seriously injured by an irate customer.

Gloria worked for a well-known, large insurance company as a homeowner- and auto-policy senior underwriter. In her region, she was responsible for accepting or declining applications for policies and also for non-renewing policies with too many points (for at-fault accidents) or large claims against them. Even though a non-renewal or decline required two consenting opinions, it was she who initiated this particular non-renewal and also her name that was recorded on the final decision.

Not all clients reacted well to having their policies declined or non-renewed because that made it especially difficult and expensive to get a policy with another company.

Gloria and her staff had a whole collection of letters, emails, and ripped-up non-renewal notices sent by disgruntled clients who had plenty of colorful things to say about where the insurance company could spend eternity and into which bodily orifices they should stuff their decision. The underwriters would pass the comments around the unit and have a good laugh or put an angry client on speaker phone so the entire department could hear the rant. It was all in a day’s work – until one of these clients paid Gloria a personal visit.

The 10 underwriters in Gloria’s small unit worked in a cube farm. Name plates were fastened to the outside of each cubicle. That made it easy for Jerome to find Gloria.

All he had to do was walk in the front door of the five-story office building, sign in at the security desk, go to the third floor, and stroll through the cube farm until he found her name.

Jerome was 20 years old, had no job, and had a history of high-school scuffles and fights, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse.  He had just moved back in with his parents, who had read him the riot act.

They reluctantly allowed him to come back under some pretty stringent rules and had added him to their insurance policy, which had promptly been non-renewed because of Jerome’s subsequent driving record, which he had slyly concealed from them – until they were informed by their insurance company that their policy would not be renewed “for the following reasons,” which prefaced a litany of Jerome’s recent driving offenses.

 His first tack was to try to make Gloria feel sorry for him.

“I’m trying real hard, ma’am” he said, trying to look sheepish and humble. “My parents are gonna throw me out for this, and I’ll have nowhere to go. I need to make this right, please. I promise it won’t happen again. I can do better,” he said softly and calmly.

Gloria was known for her professional, calm demeanor. She spoke quietly and gently: “You have two recent DUIs and an at-fault accident that killed someone,” Gloria said. “Unfortunately, no insurance company will cover you. I’m sorry. I really am. However, if you talk to your agent, he can get you force-placed.”

Forced-placement means you are insured by a company that cannot cancel or non-renew you for any reason. But you pay an exorbitant premium for this service.

 Jerome snapped and aggressively attacked Gloria, throwing the automobile non-renewal notice at her, screaming obscenities, and shoving her to the floor. As she pulled herself up and reached for her phone, he lunged at her, ripped the phone out of its socket, and slashed her face and neck with a knife he had pulled from one of his pockets.

By this time, several coworkers had rushed to her cubicle. A male coworker grabbed him, and Jerome slashed his throat with the knife. When the coworker fell to the floor, Jerome pounced on him and stabbed him repeatedly in the chest and face. As Gloria rose to her knees and tried to leave the cubicle, Jerome turned on her again and began stabbing her in the back and neck until her lifeless body slumped to the floor in a pool of blood.

Two other men in the unit tried to wrestle Jerome to the floor but not before one of them suffered critical stab wounds.

By the time security got there, two people were dead and two more were critically injured. One of them died the next day in the hospital. Several others had serious wounds.

After this tragic incident, the insurance company installed a metal detector at the entrance to the building and removed all name plates from desks and cubicles in order to combat Dissatisfied Customers Workplace Violence and protect their employees.

Who is Most at Risk for Dissatisfied Customers Workplace Violence?

Those who:

  • Work with the public.
  • Handle money and valuables.
  • Provide a service or care to people.
  • Work with unstable or volatile people.
  • Work where alcohol is served.
  • Work as taxi-cab drivers.
  • Work during intense change such as strikes and downsizing.
  • Work in the health-care industry.
  • Work alone or in small groups.

Dissatisfied Customers Workplace violence tends to increase:

  • Late at night and early in the morning.
  • During tax season.
  • During holidays.
  • On pay days.
  • Around performance appraisals.
  • When report cards and parent interviews take place.

We are Advanced Bio Treatment. We are here for you 24 hours every day of the year. Should you need our services, please call us at 800-295-1684.



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Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment