Last week, we discussed the whistleblower payout awarded to Bradley Birkenfeld, a former UBS employee who single-handedly made the government’s case against the Swiss bank re: tax evasion, scoring the US between $780 million and $5 billion, depending on how much credit you want to give him. Earlier in the month, Birkenfeld secured a $104 million bonus from the IRS for his assistance, though only after a lot of hoop jumping, nearly three years in a federal prison, and several months in a halfway house, prompting us to wonder how much money, if any, it would take to get you to blow the whistle on some colleagues playing it fast and loose with the law,* if you would do time for it, and, if so, how much? Today brings one more issue to consider, should you be seriously considering teaching your coworkers a lesson they'll never forget, which is: are you will to get your face rearranged and/or have your ear stapled to your spacebar?**
Because it will probably come to that.
“The number one weapon used at work is the fist,” says Larry Barton, a professor and leading expert in workplace violence who estimates more than 1.2 million Americans were assaulted at work by a coworker in the past calendar year. The second most popular weapon? The stapler on your desk. A new report from the Ethics Resource Center shows that physical violence at work as retaliation against whistle blowing is on the rise. Since 2009, the percentage of people who’ve reported misconduct at work and were victims of physical harm jumped more than 25%. By these tallies, both fists and staplers have been getting quite the workout.
Just something to think about.
*Be it securities laws or simply workplace etiquette laws, i.e. don't grab someone to chat for "just a quick sec" when they're clearly heading out the door to flee this asylum for the night.
**Just a for instance. Could be hand to desk, tongue to tie, foot to mouth, whatever. Relatedly, to the researchers studying these trends or the people who have actually done this: How does one make the decision to go with the stapler over the fist? Obviously any sort of history of violence is not going to look good on a résumé, but the stapler seems considerably more psychotic than the hand-as-weapon. You're not coming back from that and might as well have taken it upon yourself to remove someone's wisdom teeth with a pair of pliers, for how people are going to look at you moving forward.