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Workplace Security Plan: Does Your Company Have One?

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The Consultant’s Perspective…

The threat of violence whether it emanates from a disgruntled
employee or the threat of terrorism require both a concerted and
an individual response. Terrorism in any form is terrorism.
Having been exposed to the daily taunts, acts of intimidation,
verbal threats of bodily harm are as debilitating
psychologically as the blunt strike or the piercing bullet.
Vigilance and security awareness makes for a good prescription.
In previous writings, I’ve attempted to draw a correlation
between the disgruntled employee and the terrorist from within
by suggesting similar patterns of behavior, traits and
characteristics coupled with freedom of access and possession of
the company’s secrets. My observations clearly implied a
volatile ingredient worthy of skeptical assessment.

Following a recent article written by Louis Rovner, Ph.D,
entitled “Protecting Your Company from Terrorism Within”, I grew
more concerned. So,I interviewed him regarding the article. Dr.
Rovner is a psychologist in LA who consults to businesses,
government agencies and law enforcement agencies, one of a
handful of polygraph – psychologist nationwide. He believes that
the potential for disaster is at every employer’s doorstep and I
agree with the assessment. He said, “Thousands of Terrorist call
the United States home…hundreds of terrorist sleeper cells
scattered throughout the U.S. awaiting orders and instructions
need to assimilate in order to survive”. What do they do? The
thrust of this edition is a testimonial to the existing synergy
between Dr. Rovner and I on the topic of workplace security as a
legitimate discussion. I believe the solution to the
minimization of any potential exposure is an aggressive but
practical security plan which addresses the workplace security
issues in greater detail incorporating training and security

Now I would like to draw that necessary correlation between the
seamless similarities existing between the “event driven”
explosive conduct of the “disgruntled employee” and “the
Terrorist from within”. In an investigation I conducted several
years ago an otherwise hard working employee with a diagnosed
personality disorder was reassigned from his regular duties due
to a medical determination. It was to have been a temporary
change. However, during the ensuing assignment he was exposed to
constant abusive taunting and harassment by co-workers. In
response he began retaliating in his own way, initially
innocuously and eventually more aggressively. The verbal threats
directed at co-workers and supervisors escalated to more hostile
conduct. It was clear he was sending a message of his
displeasure. While left alone at the office computer terminal he
began browsing the Internet for bomb making sites. He had been
engaged in this clandestine operation for several days before a
sharp supervisor noticed his strange behavior at the terminal.
In an effort to protect the evidence, he used a ruse to get the
employee away from the terminal until my arrival. The subsequent
interview of the employee disclosed a pattern of hostile
retaliatory conduct in response to a lack of confidence in
management and his co-workers to protect him from the abuse. His
aggression escalated from the verbal to the near physical as he
sought ways to avenge his tormentors.


You Really Safe…? Before we get into a technical discussion
about the potential Terror from within, we need to answer a few
questions and remind you that the problem lies well within your
ability to manage. Do you know what to look for? Do you have a
mechanism to address breeches of safety or security? Are your
employees properly screened during the hiring process? Is there
a Workplace Violence Prevention Policy and Program and lastly,
are employees receiving relevant training? If we acknowledge NO
to any of these questions we have the ability to take corrective
action NOW. I know how resource intensive the process can be,
but you don’t have to go at it alone. Like the disgruntled
employee who is “event driven” the Terrorist waits for the
event. In both cases, they are the classic “sleepers” willing to
hide their intentions until they are ready to act out. Linda
Lockwood, PhD at the Metropolitan State College, Denver,
Colorado reminds us that workplace violence is obviously a
serious problem that must be better understood in order to
prevent its occurrences. I ask that we consider the threat from
within a bit more seriously by developing your security policy
and plans to minimize your exposure.

Protecting Your Company From Terrorsim From Within…

In his article Dr. Rovner, writes that the Employee-Terrorist is
“calculated” and will wait for the opportunity to strike, while
using the employer to survive beyond the stipends provided by
their terrorist group, the unwitting employer is the potential
target depending on the type of business or government agency.
But even if the companies are not specifically targeted says,
Dr. Rovner, they are indirectly and unknowingly supporting
Terrorist by providing a source of income. Like the Terrorist
who awaits the call to action, the disgruntled employee is
“event driven” by the circumstances. Both the “Terrorist” and
the “Disgruntled Employee” share some other common opportunities
as “employees”; they have access to the company and are familiar
with the company secrets.

The Potential Threat…

Driving home a clear and evident example of the potential
terrorist’s ability to penetrate even a secure environment, I am
reminded of the British Daily Mirror Reporter, Ryan Parry who
compromised the Buckingham Palace’s hiring and recruitment
procedures by providing false credentials and gaining precarious
access to the President of the United and his wife while staying
at the palace. Even though the palace had an elaborate security
system and employed the most stringent security measures to
guarantee the safety of President Bush, Parry successfully
breeched security by falsifying his references. According to
security officials they were satisfied that both the security
and criminal records check were robust and done correctly. The
response may have satisfied some political end but didn’t answer
the question of what type of employee background check was done
to authenticate and validate the hiring during the screening
process. Such access was a breach at the hiring phase when in
all likelihood, the responsibility fell on the lonely shoulders
of a lowly paid clerk who merely followed the checklist.

What To Look For…?

I believe the collaborative process of the Threat Assessment
Team concept enhances the prevention and proactive essentials
and promotes shared awareness in the identification of the
potential threatening applicant during the hiring process. The
same collaborative process can be used to insure the right
individual passes the hiring and recruitment process early on
before permanent employment. Dr. Rovner says that companies,
agencies and organizations can take preventive measures. He
suggests that the Human Resource Department be a bit more
aggressive during the hiring phases by instilling the essential
skills of the investigator. Verification of all data at the
hiring process is critical. He said, “One of the scariest things
about the Terrorist is that they look just like you and me”.
While psychologist have not developed a foolproof terrorist
profile, he suggests that most Terrorists posses a number of the
same traits. Tactfully worded questions during the interview
process will alert the interviewer. Dr. Rovner further suggest
that since the Terrorist possess common traits the use of
properly designed questions will tell whether the applicant has
most or all of the traits. He suggest they are:

-Loners -Dissatisfied with their lives -Have low self-esteem
-Are true believers -Are antisocial -Lack pity or remorse -Have
grievances against our country and our allies -Are tremendously
loyal to their terrorist group.

Anyone intimately familiar with the Threat Assessment Process
would quickly discern that some of the Terrorist’s traits and
characteristics are common to the disgruntled employee.

If anyone would like a copy of Dr. Rovner’s article, please send
me an email requesting the article.


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  • Posted On April 19, 2006
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