Client’s Challenge: An Employee’s Behavior Begins to Escalate

Stalking is one issue. Inappropriate behavior or mental illness – while sometimes though not always related – are others. Understanding the difference – and being prepared to change tactics quickly if rapidly changing circumstances threaten the safety of an individual – can be a delicate task. When a disgruntled former employee began sending inappropriate email communications to current employees, a healthcare company asked Hillard Heintze to assess the individual’s potential for violence.

Our Solution: Investigating the Subject’s Potential for Violence

Hillard Heintze began its assessment by gathering relevant information on the individual, including his mental history, current life situation, behavioral history, motivation, attack-related behavior, criminal history, organizational interests and affiliations and ownership of weapons or ability to acquire them, among many other factors. The firm also undertook detailed interviews of the individual’s known associates, neighbors, family members and others with a direct perspective on the events occurring in his life. With this information at hand, Hillard Heintze then evaluated the subject’s organizational ability, fixation, focus, communications, actions and time imperative in order to establish an expert perspective on his potential for targeted violence.

Impact on the Client: A Finding of “Low Risk” with Recommendations to Monitor the Individual Carefully

Based on this evidence, Hillard Heintze concluded that, although challenged by mental health factors, the subject did not represent an imminent danger to the company or its employees. The company accepted this finding and began implementing Hillard Heintze’s recommendations for action – including distributing the subject’s photo to appropriate personnel, preparing to document any future correspondence with him, making provisions to obtain a court restraining order against him and developing a company-wide behavioral threat capability that informs and raises awareness among managers and employees about how they can prevent possible acts of violence in the future. It also authorized Hillard Heintze to conduct continuous monitoring of the situation for 6 to 12 months, including periodic checks with family members and others with timely information on the subject’s location and behavior.

Unplugged: The Project Manager's Post-Engagement Perspective

“In effect, we created a ‘safety net’ – populated by many of the most important people in this guy’s life.

By drawing a circle of communications around him – through protective intelligence, information-sharing, and a careful coordination of insights across experts in many different disciplines – we set up, in effect, a ‘zone defense’, one that we’ll be monitoring very closely over the next year.”

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