The Impact of Disruptive Behavior in the Workplace

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According to the Department of Human Resources Services (2018) of Stony Brook University disruptive behavior interferes with the smooth flow of operations in the workplace. Disruptive behavior encapsulates threats and violence which occurs as a result of inadequate pre-employment background checks and poor employee screening (Stony Brook University, 2018). The literature on the subject of disruptive behavior focuses on pre-employment background checks and screening, violence in the workplace, and policies to mitigate such violence. This study reviews the literature on each aspect below.

The presence of employees and employers in the online habitat is the premise on which most screening occurs, especially in the current age of digital evolution. Historically, background checks, and references were the primary approaches to pre-screening because there was no real-time availability of information about the particular individual. However, Nauen (2014) indicates that with most people being on social media, 70 % of employers evaluate candidates through social media and online searches. Ties to criminal organizations, poor communication skills, provocative images, and discriminatory comments are some of the factors of consideration during an online screening. Given that preconceived notions can misinform the searching process of the candidate, Barone (2017) provides an online pre-screening criterion that neither portray any individual negatively nor disenfranchise the employer. The recruiter begins by searching the candidate online even before considering the resume. The primary factors to look for during an online search are repetitive behavior as opposed to isolated incidents and a personal brand such as politically motivated messages, or an industrial conscious person. The recruiter must be consistent in screening, avoid penalizing the candidate for minor issues, and follow up with the person. Even though pre-employment observation is vital, Cano (2012) reveals that employers experience delays due to extraneous factors. Primarily, a background check process should not take more than three days because companies look for speedy hiring and orientation processes. However, background screening delays due to inaccurate information such as dates of birth and social security numbers coupled with inadequate staffing and lack of state-of-the-art screening technology in states and counties. Furthermore, few parameters can give an accurate description of the individual especially when it involves applicant outside the country. Cross-border background checks are also challenging due to tardy education and employment sources.

A review of the article by Tate (2011) indicates that screening should continue even after employment. Most companies do not follow up the pre-employment background check with employee screening which causes an average of 564 homicides in the workplace annually as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Tate, 2011). While the searching strategy and tactic are essential, background checking and screening should be a matter of policy in the organization as opposed to the isolated event that occurs only during hiring and recruitment. Furthermore, detection is extended beyond individuals and must account for everybody within the premises at any given time. Vendors, contractors, and temporary staff are also agents of violence in the workplace and must be subjected to the same searching as employees. Therefore, companies should promote a violence-free culture by requiring employees and other stakeholders to complete a periodic screening assessment as a common practice. Disgruntlement, stress, ignorance for violence risk factors, and lack of employee assistant programs are the most common causes of violence (Francis, 2017). For instance, a former reporter Vester Lee Flanagan shot and killed former colleagues camera operator Adam Ward and reporter Alison Parker citing racist slurs by the two disgruntled him (Perez & Rosenbaum, 2015). While being employed, Flanagan had filed a lawsuit on the grounds of unlawful termination of racial segregation as the primary cause of his dismissal. If the company had established the fundamental policy of employee screening and violence prevention, the catastrophe was avoidable. HireRight (2012a) records that besides thorough and regular conduct of background checks, violence in the workplace is preventable through establishing the reporting protocol and implementing a violence response policy. Timely address of quarrels and disagreements reduces the cost associated with disorder within an organization. For example, Gulati (2008) proposes that a situation analysis is an essential way of identifying and understanding the specific health issue to discuss in a healthcare setting.

The primary factors affecting employers when setting screening standards are competitive but weak job market, a broad spectrum of risk factors, numerous hiring laws, and regulations (HireRight, 2013; Society for Human Resource Management, 2016). However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regularly updates the guidelines that assist employers during recruitment and hiring in a bid to promote fair screening processes. For example, targeted screening and understanding disparate treatment and impact are critical requirements which ensure a recruiter does not unfairly discriminate a candidate. The commission also serves as a guide for organizations that seeks to establish disruptive behavior policies to avoid workplace violence. The Stony Brook University has a detailed policy concerning disruptive behavior which helps the institution avert instances of abuse among students, employees and other stakeholders (HireRight, 2012b)


Barone, C. (2017). 7 ways to screen potential candidates online. Retrieved from

Cano, J. (2012). 7 factors delaying background screening times. . Retrieved from]

Francis, K. (2017). What are the causes of workplace violence? Retrieved from

Gulati, A. (2008). How to conduct a situation analysis. Retrieved from

HireRight. (2012a). Best practices to help meet the updated EEOC enforcement guidance. Retrieved from

HireRight. (2012b). Three best practices to help prevent workplace violence. Retrieved from

HireRight. (2013). Three key trends affecting employers. Retrieved from

Human Resources Services. (2018). Retrieved from

Nauen, R. (2014). 7 in 10 employers research job candidates online. Retrieved from     media-profiles.

Perez, C., & Rosenbaum, S. (2015). Shooter posted news crew’s final moments online. Retrieved from           dead-accused-them-of-racism/.

Society for Human Resource Management. (2016). Screening and evaluating candidates. society for human resource management. Retrieved from

Stony Brook University. (2018). Disruptive behavior procedure. Retrieved

Tate, W. (2011). Pre-employment screening. Retrieved from workplace-violence.

January 19, 2024

Corporations Management

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