Workplace Violence in the U.S. Post Office
Homicide was the third leading cause of occupational injury death in the United States between 1980 and 1985 (NIOSH, 1992). One-third of these workplace homicides occurred in retail trade establishments, and most involved patrons who killed employees during robbery attempts. Post offices have too often been the setting for another type of homicide, at least since 1983 when James Brooks, a postal custodian in Anniston, Alabama, was charged with the murder of his supervisor and the local postmaster. The most celebrated incident occurred in 1986 when a part-time letter carrier named Patrick Sherrill shot and killed 14 postal employees and wounded 6 others at the Edmond, Oklahoma post office (Applebome, 1986a). In five separate incidents in 1989, five postal employees committed suicide and two others were murdered in post offices around San Diego (Welkos, 1989). In 1991, two recently fired postal workers went back to their respective post offices and exacted revenge—four people died in each incident (Associated Press, 1991a; Hanley 1991). Twenty-seven people have lost their lives in postal shootings since 1986 (Zender, Harrington, & Wittrup, 1992).
KeywordsPost Office Social Disorganization Postal Employee Workplace Violence Private Sector Employee
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