The Creep in the Office: Is He Dangerous?

How to protect yourself from yucky, weird or downright scary coworkers
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The Creep in the Office: Is He Dangerous?

How to protect yourself from yucky, weird or downright scary coworkers

-Jane Farrell

Workplace Creep

The killing of Yale graduate student Annie Le, and the conflict that reportedly led up to it, is a scary story for any woman who’s had to deal with a bit too much attention from the weird guy in the next cubicle.

Le was killed earlier this month in the laboratory building where she conducted experiments; a coworker, Raymond Clark III, has been charged in her death.

Just after Clark was arrested, authorities said the case was one of “workplace violence.” Clark, a laboratory technician described by associates as a “control freak,” was reportedly upset with Le over the condition of some mice cages in the lab.

Chris McGoey, a private investigator in California and the head of McGoey Security Consulting, tells that there could be another reason besides an office conflict: “I believe the evidence will show that Annie Le was murdered because [Clark] was infatuated with her. On the day of her death…Le probably rejected his physical advances and when she tried to push him away or scream, he suffocated her.”

Whether or not that proves to be so, it’s important to remember that Annie Le’s case – the killing of one coworker by another in an office – is relatively rare. Most workplace murders occur in high-risk places like convenience stores, where a clerk is often killed in an armed robbery.

Yet at the same time, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, 25 percent of women who are killed in the workplace are victims of people they know, like coworkers or spouses who go to the office as part of a pattern of domestic violence.

And there are other forms of workplace violence as well. Between the years 1993 and 1999, the latest year for which statistics are available, the U.S. Justice Department reports that there were an average of 36,500 workplace rapes and sexual assaults per year, and a staggering 1.6 million “simple assaults” annually. (Women were victims in 80 percent of the rape and sexual assault cases, and in 36 percent of the simple assaults.)

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