The case itself discusses an incident with a female employee, a woman who had been diagnosed as schizophrenic, who refused to continue to taking her prescribed medications, and who, as a result, ended up having a psychotic episode at work, one that was so severe that her coworkers felt threatened by her behavior (OPM, 1998). As soon as the incident was reported, it was investigated, and it was determined that this was not the first time that this had happened, though it was the most severe; action had been taken in the past, but it was clear that additional action needed to be taken in order to ensure that the workplace remained a safe environment for all employees (OPM, 1998). The agency decided that they would need to institute the removal process in order to keep the rest of the employees safe, following proper documentation procedures, contacting the employee and her representative, and offering the necessary forms of assistance to the individual (OPM, 1998).
I agree with the agency’s approach in handling the case, given the fact that the company worked to ensure that the proper steps and documentation were taken each time there was an incident with the employee, as soon as the incident was reported. Furthermore, they worked to come up with a solution that did not discriminate against the employee based on her condition, but instead worked to try to get her the help that she needed, within the confines of their ability. The action taken by the agency was not only decisive, but it worked to ensure that the best interests of all parties were taken into account.
My employee training directs employees to determine the appropriate course of action to take based on the given emergency situation. If there is an incident involving an employee who is behaving in a threatening manner, but who has no weapons, they are expected to call security to deal with the situation; however, if there is an employee who is behaving in a threatening manner who does have a weapon, or who appears to be a true danger to themselves or someone else, they are to call 911 to let the trained professionals deal with the situation. For true emergency situations, such as medical issues, they are to call both, as there is a first aid kit and medical equipment present in the security office, which is to serve as a stop gap until paramedics arrive. For fires, break ins, burglaries, and other associated matters, employees are to call 911 and to take the most appropriate course of action based on a given situation; for a fire they are to exit the building, for a burglary they are to not disturb the area, and so on.
My team is knowledgeable about accessing the appropriate community resources for emergency situations, and the team itself completes safety training and drills on a periodic basis, working to ensure that the appropriate response in an emergency situation becomes second nature, allowing for the most appropriate response to be the first one that comes to mind, instead of the last. We work to ensure that all employees are able to maintain the appropriate degree of safety knowledge, and safety posters are located around the office in places that will be considered helpful, such as a Heimlich maneuver poster located within the break room, fire exit pathways by each of the doors and exists to the office, and so on.
If the employee discussed within the case study had not been willing and able to apply for disability retirement herself, the agency is unable to force the employee to do so (OPM, 1998(. The agency has strict rules associated with filing for disability retirement on behalf of the employee. There are five conditions that must be met in order for the agency to be able to file for disability retirement on behalf of the employee (OPM, 1998). First, the agency must have already issued a decision to remove the employee (OPM, 1998). Second, the agency must conclude that the employees unacceptable levels of performance are related to the medical issue or injury that the employee has (OPM, 1998). Third, the employee must be either institutionalized, or the agency must conclude that the employee is unable to make decisions for themselves on their own behalf (OPM, 1998). Fourth, the employee must have no representative or guardian who has the ability to file the paperwork for them, and fifth, the employee must have no family member who can file on their behalf (OPM, 1998). If all these conditions are met, and only if all of these conditions are met, the agency may file on behalf of the employee (OPM, 1998). In the case of this particular employee, such an action is not possible, as she does have a family member who is able to assist in the decision making process and is able to assist in filling out the paperwork on her behalf, should she have still decided against this particular course of action (OPM, 1998).
The agency does encourage early intervention in regard to situations where there is an employee who is behaving in an erratic manner, who has been reported as yelling at their coworkers, and who has behaved in a manner that other employees find threatening (OPM, 1998). It is for this reason that the initial actions were taken with the employee prior to her last altercation within the office. She was recommended for a medical evaluation, which she refused, and she was spoken with several times, with many alternative methods of working to resolve and mitigate the issue. Unfortunately, such initial attempts were unsuccessful, and it became necessary to take the next possible course of action, that of starting the removal process for the employee. With the assistance of her family at the conclusion of the process, however, the employee was able to work to get the necessary assistance that she needed and get signed up for the retirement disability that she would have needed in order to be able to sustain her current lifestyle.
By working to ensure that there are appropriate policies and procedures in place within the workplace to address situations such as these and, more importantly, that the employees within the agency are knowledgeable enough about those policies and procedures, it is possible to work to ensure that the workplace continues to remain one free of violence. If both of these two conditions are not met, such a scenario could have ended up with disastrous results for all parties involved. Luckily, the appropriate policies were in place and the appropriate actions were taken, designed to ensure that all parties were able to get what they needed in order to ensure that the workplace remains one that is beneficial for all.