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Right up there at the top of the list of ways to die at work, right behind falling to a lower floor and roadway collisions, is murder. Yup, corporate assassination is the third most likely way kick the bucket on the clock.
(And that’s just in the United States, so the data doesn’t even include this über creeper from Germany.)
Do I need start carrying pepper spray to the break room? It might not be a bad idea. According to the latest census of workplace injuries and fatalities from the Bureau of Labor Statistic, there were 500 workplace homicides in 2016, up from 409 in 2014. The most common method by far is shootings, which accounted for 394 of the workplace homicides, followed by stabbings at just 38. Even the number of multiple homicides at workplaces is on the rise in the last two years, rising from 36 incidents to 63, though that number tends to vary wildly from year to year.
Why so agro, bro? It’s not all disgruntled minions and lovelorn cubicle hermits causing the violence. One theory is that corporate villains are much more likely to resort to violence to protect their schemes than previously thought. Corporate fraud examiners call this “red-collar” crime, The Atlanticreports. In one such instance, the president of a huge mortgage broker, while in jail, attempted to hire hitmen to whack an informant.
According to Frank S. Perri, a certified fraud examiner and defense attorney who teaches forensic accounting at DePaul University, some of the same qualities that make people good executives—like, say, narcissism and psychopathy—are also prevalent in perpetrators of corporate crime. When scientists gave 200 executives and managers a psychopathy test in 2010, eight of the test subjects scored 30 or higher, the domain of serial killers. Being both a good communicator and liar are qualities that psychopaths and executives share.
“Whenever I read about high-profile executives who are found dead, I immediately think red-collar crime,” Richard G. Brody, a fraud examiner told The Atlantic. “Lots of people are getting away with murder.”