YouTube Shooting Highlights Workplace Violence

What do you worry about at work? If you’re like most American workers, your daily worries probably include things like looming deadlines, critical meetings, or how to ask your boss for a raise. Something you probably don’t worry about, though, is workplace violence.

Workplace violence is defined as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening or disruptive behavior” that occurs at a work site. It affects nearly 2 million Americans every year, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It’s easy to feel secure in your workplace environment and assume that such violence will never happen to you—but a slew of recent examples of workplace violence show that it can happen in any kind of workplace.

Recent Examples of Workplace Violence

The most recent example of workplace violence occurred this week at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, California. The alleged assailant, a female blogger who was apparently angry over the company’s treatment of her videos, wounded three people before fatally shooting herself. This attack follows several other incidents of workplace violence in California. This includes the 2015 shooting in San Bernardino, where two assailants attacked employees gathered for a company party. It also follows two instances of workplace gun violence in Florida—a 2017 shooting in Orlando involving a former employee and last month’s shooting at a business in Plant City.

In the cases of YouTube and San Bernardino, the attackers were not employees of the company that experienced the violence. However, incidents such as these still fall under the umbrella of workplace violence because they affected people in their place of employment.

Types of Workplace Violence

Based on its definition, workplace violence includes a variety of situations, like:

  • A worker making unwanted sexual advances on another
  • One worker verbally harassing another about their religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality
  • A worker shoving or punching another coworker
  • An irate customer hitting a worker

It’s important to note that a threat, even if not acted upon, still constitutes workplace violence. A threat can still result in fear, anxiety, or stress, which is a distraction during the workday. A threat of sexual harassment, for example, may seem less severe than an actual shooting. Still, it is very much a case of workplace violence.

Knowing Your Workers Compensation Rights

For an act of workplace violence to be compensable under workers’ compensation, the violence must be work-related. For example, a retail worker punched by a customer could likely claim compensation for their injuries. On the other hand, if a worker’s ex-boyfriend comes to her job and assaults her, it might not fall under workers’ compensation.

Violent incidents like the shooting at YouTube force us to confront some of our worst fears. No one can expect violence in their workplace.  No one should ever have to, but for the victims of these recent attacks, it has become a devastating reality.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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