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Many cases of workplace violence originate in the home. “An employer who receives an employee order of protection against a non-employee spouse must assess the risk to the workplace,” says Felix P. Nater, president of Nater Associates, a security consulting firm operating out of New York City and Charlotte, North Carolina (

Nater suggests consulting with local law enforcement officers on the best procedures to follow (such as calling 911) if the spouse is spotted on the workplace premises, then training employees in those procedures. Obtain a copy of the restraining order, and keep it on hand to provide to the police when necessary.

Work with the affected employee to reduce risk. The employer might reasonably accommodate the employee with a leave of absence or a flexible work schedule, and institute additional security measures such as changing the employee’s parking spot and their work location. “The goal is to protect the workforce and reduce the employer’s liability for a violent act,” says Nater.

Finally, make sure the employee knows the game plan if the spouse shows up at work. Perhaps she should move to a predetermined location in a back room while the staff calls the police.

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