What to Do When Someone Threatens You in the Workplace

Threatening at workplaceThreatening at workplace

Most individuals go to work and expect a degree of safety. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that two million Americans experience workplace violence annually. How you handle a situation when someone threatens you in the workplace depends on the circumstances.

For example, did the threat come from a co-worker or a client?

Keep in mind that if you feel like your life is being threatened at that moment, find the nearest phone and call 911.

Below are five steps to take when someone threatens you in the workplace.

1.   What Kind of Threat Occurred?

It’s daunting to receive a threat from someone in the workplace. Most workplaces accommodate violence-free environments, such as manufacturing plants, offices, and schools.

Anyone who makes a threat in the workplace, even in jest, isn’t excused from making it in poor taste. When the menace occurs, focus. Take yourself out of the fog of the threat and put yourself in an analytical frame of mind.

What kind of threat did you experience?

OSHA lists several threat types including disruptive behavior, intimidation, harassment, and physical violence.

No threat is acceptable at the workplace. When you experience it in the workplace, document the details.

2.   Who Made the Threat?

As you document the threat, jot down who made it toward you. It’s important to note if it came from a co-worker, manager, executive, or client.

Even though OSHA estimates that two million Americans experience some form of workplace violence, several instances remain unreported.

It’s safe to assume that subordinates don’t always report a workplace threat made to them by a superior. This is why you’re documenting the incident. You’re telling your side of the story; your interpretation counts too.

Before you report it, ensure that you wrote down the details of the threat while still fresh in your mind. If you start to forget the details, you lose credibility.

Threats in the workplace get dicey when it occurs in environments that are conducive to disruptive behavior, such as bars. Some career paths experience more threats than others too, such as healthcare workers, delivery drivers, and customer service positions. In these situations, the threat comes from an outside source as opposed to a colleague.

3.   Where Did the Threat Take Place?

After someone threatens you in the workplace, document where the incident took place.

Were you bullied in the breakroom?

Did you receive the threat in the bathroom?

Were you threatened in front of the office complex?

Sometimes these incidents occur in security camera blind spots. The information you report can help change that in the future.

4.   Document the Incident

Documenting the incident gives you credibility when you report it to the appropriate party. If there’s a human resources department at your workplace, the documentation goes to them as opposed to your boss. The HR department affords you a level of privacy while someone investigates the incident.

The information you provide prevents the incident from occurring again. Maybe your co-worker had a really bad day and took it out on you. Being used as a figurative punching bag isn’t acceptable. Your report helps corrections take place.

5.   Report the Incident

Now it’s time to report the workplace threat. Your feelings toward the incident might change before handing over the information. No one tries to make a joke out of a workplace threat, especially if you don’t believe that it was minor.

There are levels in these situations.

For example, did a co-worker make a petty slight at your expense? If so, your HR department will help you deal with this situation in a productive manner. They’ll also work to prevent it from happening again.

Some workplace environments attract threats in the workplace, such as banks, government offices, and law enforcement. In these cases, your employer mitigates the dangers of the job scope, environment, and neighborhood to their fullest ability.

Real estate agents are among professionals who might consider hiring bodyguard services offered by Special Security Services.

It’s important to distinguish between petty slights and offensive behavior. There’s also a difference between the threat coming from a colleague and a client.


If someone threatens you in the workplace, follow the outlined steps above. Document the incident and report it to the correct manager or person in authority. Your report allows the evaluation of the incident. The goal is to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Categories: Guide