U.S. worker-on-worker violence under-reported: experts

Mon Oct 5, 2009 8:39am EDT
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By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The murder of a graduate student at Yale University, and the arrest of a lab technician, is a case of workplace violence, authorities say, that has pushed the issue of danger at work into the spotlight.

While workplace violence is not uncommon, actual worker-on-worker violence is rare or at least under-reported and undercounted, experts say. As a result, there's plenty left to be learned about it, they say.

At Yale, Annie Le was missing for five days until her body was found stuffed behind a wall in a research lab on September 13, which was to have been her wedding day. Lab technician Raymond Clark was arrested and charged with the murder.

It's a case of workplace violence, police said, and no motive has emerged. Colleagues called Clark a "control freak" who clashed with others over cleanliness at the lab.

The case is unusual, experts say. Workplace homicide has dropped dramatically, to 444 such cases last year from twice as many in 1995, according to government statistics. And most of those deaths occur in robberies of taxi drivers and clerks.

The worker-on-worker homicide rate hovers around a hundred a year nationwide, leaving little data to help predict who is likely to kill a co-worker, said Tom Tripp, co-author of "Getting Even: The Truth About Workplace Revenge."


"Lots of people have grievances," he said. "How do you know which of the very rare few are going to go do it?"   Continued...

<p>This undated handout image, provided by the New Haven Police Department on September 18, 2009, shows a family photograph of Yale graduate student Annie Le whose murdered body was found in the basement of a campus laboratory building. REUTERS/Courtesy of the New Haven Police Department/Handout</p>