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Desk rage becoming more common in workplace

Desk rage becoming more common in workplace



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Researchers say more people are going into fits of rage at the workplace, and it's not just the boss who's causing it.

Chances are either you or someone you know has had a boss or a co-worker who has unleashed their anger in the workplace.

One woman says she had a boss who would be "yelling at us and pointing out every little thing we had done wrong." A Salt Lake City man told me he had a boss who joked about shooting him, and then fired him six months later.

Reuters calls this "desk rage," and we're seeing more of it.

Johns Hopkins Hospital Workforce Diversity Director John Fuller said, "It is on the rise, and I think it's because American workers are more stressed out now than they ever have been."

Reuters says 2 to 3 percent of workers polled admit to pushing, slapping or hitting someone at work. Fuller says other studies show that office bullying is responsible for one resignation out of four.

"Managers do it 33 percent of the time and employees do it 67 percent of the time. It's really more employee on employee-type of things that go on, and it can go from just a nuisance to violence very quickly," he said.

Fuller says more companies are forming risk assessment teams to recognize things that seem to be precursors to rage issues, like using unscheduled vacation time, showing up late for work or inconsistent performance.

"Major employers really need to have a very strong employee assistance program," Fuller said.

In the Salt Lake area, a slight majority of companies do offer some sort of counseling for employees who feel they need it, so a small problem doesn't become a big one.

Employers Council Staff Consultant Holly Engar said, "Thirty percent of employers offer an employee assistance program through their regular medical coverage. Another 28 percent offer a separate EAP plan."

Engar says these programs used to be designed for people wanting drug rehabilitation, but that's changed.

"It has been expanded in the past few years and now it covers legal advice, psychological counseling and a variety of different benefits," she explained.

Some analysts say high gas prices, long commutes and lots of stress have some workers ready to fight before the work day even starts.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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Paul Nelson

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