12/15/2008

Terminated: Office Rage


How many times have you heard in years gone by about a fired employee coming back to extract vengeance on his or her boss and former co-workers? It happens all too frequently. In Vancouver (Canada), Eric Kirkpatrick had been laid off for undisclosed reasons. He killed the object of his rage, Ben Banky the CEO of TallGrass Distribution Ltd., a natural health products company. Mr. Bankey was 40 years old. Mr Kirkpatrick was 61. Just my opinion, but there is always going to be some resentment by an older employee over that of someone in charge who is two decades younger. I have seen it first hand in the federal agency that I once worked for over 20 years. Just strictly guessing, but most likely the two did not see eye to eye on the project they just completed. Mr. Kirkpatrick was laid off on December 11th. It's never a good idea to lay off someone just before the holidays. Possibly, Mr. Banky had no other alternative. I'm sure he realized this would not set well with Kirkpatrick. Thankfully, no other employees were harmed. It is sad that Mr. Bankey had to die as a result of a former employee who decided to take matters into his own hands.

In the federal agency that I retired from in 2003, we had an employee who was nothing short of insane. He had verbally and physically threatened several employees over the three years he was employed. Many people were intimidated by him. Not because of his physical stature (he was 5'6 at most and maybe 135lbs). But, they were intimidated by his near hysterical rage over the least little thing he felt was out of line. He had been counseled, suspended and ordered to take medicine to calm his abusive nature. One day, he went too far. He knocked down a woman who was six months pregnant. Her sin? She was taking too long to fill her water bottle from the water cooler. Police were called and he was arrested. The next day, at long last, he was fired. Two weeks later, I looked out the window of the cafeteria while at lunch. Police were everywhere. It appears this fired employee had come back with a .357 Magnum handgun. An alert security guard saw him and wrestled him to the ground. The security guard took the gun away, handcuffed him with plastic tie-wraps and called police. Half the staff took the day off after this. We all thought about what could have happened to all of us if not for the alertness of the security guard. Incidentally, that security guard was promoted to chief of security 18 months later.

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