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Thursday, August 27, 2015

( Remembering Alison Parker WDBJ 7 News ) Patcnews Aug 27, 2015 The Patriot Conservative News Tea Party Network Reports Remembering Alison Parker WDBJ 7 News © All copyrights reserved By Patcnews
















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    Digital Broadcast Center:
    WDBJ Television
    2807 Hershberger Road
    Roanoke, VA 24017


    Phone: (540) 344-7000
    Fax: (540) 344-5097
    Toll-Free: 800-777-WDBJ (9325)

    In Memory of Alison Parker

    POSTED: 04:42 PM EDT May 09, 2014 
    UPDATED: 10:46 AM EDT Aug 27, 2015 

    Contact Info








    Alison Parker

    Alison Parker is WDBJ7’s Mornin' reporter. She isn't too far
    from home, having lived most of her life outside of Martinsville, Va.
    Alison is also a former WDBJ7 intern.


    She formerly worked at WCTI NewsChannel 12 in the Jacksonville, N.C., bureau, which is near Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

    Alison
    graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. in
    December 2012. She learned the ropes of journalism in JMU's School of
    Media Arts and Design. During her last semester in school, she learned
    how to produce newscasts at WHSV, an ABC/Fox affiliate station in
    Harrisonburg.


    Alison was also News Editor for JMU's nationally recognized newspaper, The Breeze, which has received numerous press awards.

    In her spare time, Alison likes to whitewater kayak, play with her parents' dog Jack, and attend community theater events.

    Click here to follow Alison on Facebook and click here to follow Alison on Twitter.
     ________________________________






    Virginia Shooting Spotlights Riddle of Workplace Safety





    Kimberly McBroom, a WDBJ anchor, and Leo Hirsbrunner, right, a meteorologist, with guests on Thursday’s broadcast.
     © Steve Helber/Associated Press Kimberly McBroom, a WDBJ anchor, and Leo Hirsbrunner, right, a meteorologist, with guests on Thursday’s broadcast.
    The problems were flagrant, and his boss began to document them, only months after Vester Lee Flanagan II started working as a reporter at television station WDBJ in Roanoke, Va.
    He had a “heated confrontation” with another reporter inside a station truck, according to a memo from the news director. He ripped into a cameraman because he did not like the way he was filming, and colleagues said he made them feel “threatened or uncomfortable.” Mr. Flanagan was ordered to obtain counseling from employee assistance or lose his job. He complied, but because of continuing belligerence and other problems he was fired anyway, after less than a year.
    Mr. Flanagan stormed out of the news director’s office when told he was being dismissed and slammed a door so hard that nearby workers hid in a locked room. Station officials called the Roanoke police, who came to escort him out, but not before he handed the news director a small wooden cross and said, “You’ll need this.”
    Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts From The New York Times
    The station hired off-duty police officers to guard the building for the next two days and hoped that the problems with Mr. Flanagan were over.
    But they were not: More than two years after being fired, Mr. Flanagan shot to death Alison Parker, a young reporter, and Adam Ward, a cameraman he had once worked with, while they were on the air Wednesday on assignment.
    It is a nightmare for any employer: what to do with a volatile, constantly aggrieved worker who has had angry, even frightening confrontations with fellow workers — yet has committed no crime. Because he had no convictions or been adjudicated mentally ill, Mr. Flanagan was able to legally purchase from a licensed dealer the Glock 19 handgun used in the killings after passing a background check in June, federal officials said.
    At a news conference on Thursday, the station manager of WDBJ was asked if there was anything more the station could have done to protect its workers. “We can probably screen more,” the manager, Jeff Marks, said, though he went on to speak about how difficult it is to get an honest reference from a former employer.
    Finally, he said, “I don’t know the answer to that question, nor do I think I’m likely to come up with it in the first day” after the shooting.
    Such violent events cannot be predicted, but there are things a company can do to reduce the risk of them occurring, according to labor scholars, psychologists and consultants in workplace safety.
    Suggestions include forming teams to monitor and provide help to workers who seem to be boiling over with bitterness and, if firing is necessary, doing so in a way to preserve the worker’s dignity as much as possible, said J. Reid Meloy, a psychologist and consultant on workplace risk.
    Employers face conflicting legal obligations and huge uncertainties. They have a legal duty to provide a safe workplace, and can even be sued for failing to prevent predictable threats, according to legal experts.
    On the other hand, they must tread carefully with employees who may have mental health problems. The federal disabilities act prohibits discrimination against disabled people, including those with mental illness.
    For every angry employee who might pose a serious threat, there are far more who will not and whose privacy and rights must be respected. And there is no surefire screening method.
    “It’s nuance,” said Linda Doyle, an expert in employment law with McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago. “Not every one of these is a Mr. Flanagan,” she said, referring to people whose behavior seems problematic. “The goal is to help the person be well and change the behavior, but the other goal is to protect your workplace.”
    Many companies refer troubled workers to employee assistance programs, which provide counseling or refer them to therapists or other programs. But therapists are bound by confidentiality unless the patient makes a clear, immediate threat to harm himself or someone else.
    According to the federal government, nearly two million Americans each year report being victims of workplace violence, a broad definition that includes not just physical violence, but also threats, harassment, intimidation and even verbal abuse involving employees, clients, customers and visitors.
    From 1997 to 2010, there were 8,666 homicides in workplaces, of which about one in 10 were carried out by co-workers or former co-workers, federal data shows. Total homicides in the workplace have been declining, to about 400 in 2013, according to the most recent statistics from the Department of Labor.
    Federal law since the 1970s has made it clear that employers are responsible for providing work sites that are free of hazards, which government rules and court decisions have established can include workplace violence, said Corinne Peek-Asa, associate dean for research in the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa and director of the university’s Injury Prevention Research Center.
    “If you can convince a jury that a business should have seen it coming, and should have done something about it, more often those cases are going against the employer, especially jury decisions,” Ms. Peek-Asa said.
    Many larger companies have devised systematic approaches to prevent workplace violence, “but there are huge gaps in the programs of many middle- and small-sized businesses,” she said.
    Dealing with employees whose anger and aggression may be tied to psychiatric disorders poses special challenges. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, employers must accommodate workers who have mental health issues as long as they are able to do their job, and employers can be sued for revealing medical information to a third party, said Joseph A. Seiner, an expert on employment issues and a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law.
    Still, “employers do not have to tolerate acts of violence,” said Elizabeth Bille, vice president and associate general counsel at the Society for Human Resource Management. “Even if a behavior such as a threat of violence is the result of a mental health condition,” she said, employees can be terminated.
    “This is one of the most complicated areas of human resources or employment law because there are no clear answers,” Ms. Bille said, “and there a few potential legal pitfalls you need to navigate.”
    Many experts agree that employers should take more care when firing a volatile person than when dismissing a typical employee, and if necessary with severance benefits that might not otherwise be warranted. Still, some people may continue to nurture their grievances no matter how their firing was handled.
    “You can try to know as much as you can about the person before they depart,” said Stephen G. White, a psychologist and president of the consulting firm Work Trauma Services Inc. Employers can have precautionary measures in place when it seems appropriate, such as legal protective orders. But in the end, he said, comes a very difficult judgment call.
    “You’re looking for that needle in the haystack,” Mr. White said. “You don’t want to miss a hot one, but you don’t want to overreact to situations that are low risk.”
    At WDBJ, Mr. Flanagan was not just a difficult employee, he was a litigious one. He filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint of discrimination against the station. He also sued the station after his dismissal and sought to subpoena the personnel records of 41 employees, including his own file and those of Ms. Parker, Mr. Ward and several of his bosses.
    In a rambling fax he sent to ABC News on Wednesday that amounted to a suicide note, he accused employees of the station of racist acts “including, but not limited to a watermelon being left on a cooler ON PURPOSE. It was left there a day after I complained about a photographer asking if I wanted to get a watermelon Slurpee when I asked him to pull over at 7/11. This was not an innocent act.” He saw malice in an intern asking where he would “swing by” for lunch.
    Mr. Marks, the station manager, said at a news conference Thursday: “We do not tolerate any attitude of illegal discrimination, harassment, or anything that makes the workplace other than a safe place to work,. We have terminated employees for violating that standard, and we would again.”
    He added, “I am absolutely certain that nothing like that happened in this case, and that it was in the imagination, and perhaps in the preconception and the preplanned attitudes, of the fellow in this case.”


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