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Workplace Violence Is Unfortunately On The Rise Felix Nater Discusses Best Practices Regarding Recent Office Shooting

Felix Nater, President and Owner, Nater Associates, Ltd.

Burr Ridge Illinois Office Complex

"In The Boardroom" On

We are honored to chat with Felix Nater about "best practices" that should be in place right now to hopefully help prevent workplace violence events”
— Martin Eli, Publisher

RYE BROOK, NY, UNITED STATES, April 18, 2022 / -- A 31-year-old gunman barged into three separate businesses in a Burr Ridge, IL office complex – all of which he had worked for at some point. He fired at least five shots, according to the police, killed his boss and shot an accountant before taking his own life.

Felix Nater joins us "In The Boardroom" On to talk about "best practices" that should be in place to hopefully help prevent these tragic events from happening. Thank you for joining us again today Felix. Another workplace violence incident recently made headlines…

”Man shot, killed his boss and shot accountant before taking his own life at Burr Ridge office complex”.

What is your perspective Felix regarding background-screening and “best practices” regarding the hiring of new employees that employers should be following at this time.

Felix Nater: I start my answer by emphasizing that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Employers will always take the route of least resistance in managing their expenditures. Employers tend to balk at the costs of background-screening and the time factor involved, weighed against meeting their budgets and operational needs. While it is impossible to predict that 100 percent of the persons selected today will stay violent free, Employers should take reasonable measures to conduct background-screening, often referred to as background investigations in order to reduce the risk of hiring individuals with a history of violent behavior or predisposition for violence. Conducting background-screening represents an Employer’s due diligence in providing for a safe and secure workplace. What makes this situation problematic?

Felix Nater: What makes this situation problematic is that the violence-prone individual who is hired without any concern, does his work satisfactorily or better, hides his predisposition towards violence until things do not go his way. In this situation, the shooter was probably known in the business park where he worked as a truck driver for two other trucking firms. Giving the Employers the benefit of the doubt, let’s assume they were due diligent and began a background-screening that resulted in a concerning report that might have prompted the separation discussions around poor performance. Or, the Employer might have discovered a concerning confrontational demeanor that arose to a level of unacceptable behavior and was in the process of separating Spicer. There’s enough speculation in this unfortunate situation to draw several conclusions. What makes this situation unfortunate?

Felix Nater: Not only was this situation unfortunate, but it was also preventable. We know from the News reports and my Armchair Analysis that after leaving the murder scene, Spicer approached his two former Employers shooting the accountant and missing the Boss at the other Employer’s place of business. An inexpensive background-screening request could have provided some preliminary insight. Given Spicer’s employment history it seems quite likely that if a proper background screening was performed, red flags could have been raised before this person was hired.

Felix Nater: I think you raise valid points. However, I return to the theory that Employers who are focused on budgets and operational needs find themselves cutting corners to meet their needs. I would rather have a completed background-screening report on file than nothing at all. I have spoken at functions on the topic of pre-screening and background screening where attendees applauded the presentation and publicly appreciated my comments, but admitted that time and immediate business concerns placed them between a rock and a hard place. Meeting business and serving customer needs weighs heavily in the hearts and minds of many small business. Employers who cut corners on the background-screening is a risk that interferes with their due diligence. Some say, it they could only get the results much sooner. So, what can Employers do better?

Felix Nater: I am not asking employers to break any laws but just to be due diligent in the hiring and firing process. Frequently, predisposed to violence employees who have been “terminated” from their jobs become perpetrators as they see their incomes terminated. “Terminations” can be extremely stressful events not only for those being discharged but also for those who must conduct the dismissals and for those left behind. So, have protocols in place that guide both the “hiring and firing” processes. Put everybody on notice on the protocols. I marvel how many managers are so focused on numerical outcomes without recognizing that meeting metrics, and risk management principles without a focus on workplace environment is of paramount importance. Thank you again for joining us today Felix - is there anything else you would like to add?

Felix Nater: Stop being a penny wise and a pound foolish when it comes to workplace security and workforce protection. Juries frown on excuses.


Felix P. Nater, President and Owner of Nater Associates, Ltd. a human resource security management consulting practice focusing on workplace violence prevention consulting, workplace security consulting and security awareness helps manufacturing, processing, production, and utility firms implement and manage workplace security and violence prevention strategy.

Mr. Nater is a nationally recognized highly skilled Workplace Violence Prevention Advisor & Consultant retired from federal law enforcement with more than 30 years of investigative, law enforcement, program management and security experiences and 20 years working with private, public and government clients..

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