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October 5th, 2009
10:27 AM ET

When co-workers kill: Co-workers over the edge

Erin Sperrey was working as a supervisor at a Tim Horton's in Maine when she was killed by one of her staffers. CNN's Carol Costello interviews Erin's mother and sister about their efforts to promote workplace safety.

Filed under: When Co-Workers Kill
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Ken Crawford

    The true facts of Mr. McCue's story is that his brother was the one that had employment problems. The end of the story is that the brother quit the job, he was not fired. That is the plain fact. On the other hand, Mitch claims he was harrassed on the job. Not True! He vested his rights at 16 years. He left the job to strike it rich being a real estate developer in Georgia. Then the economy hit. Now he claims he was harrassed.

    October 22, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  2. Ann

    Dear Linda,

    If that guy was implying through his derrogatory statements and chair throwing that your alleged ineptitude was due to your age, then you have an age discrimination complaint. If the employment staff was mostly young and not many people older than, say 35, that could also make your case stronger. Try recalling any off-handed remarks made by co-workers and management staff involving issues dealing with age. You're always free to amend your complaint; and since you stated others became angry at you as a result of this guy being fired and that management told you they were "doing away with your job", together, those are grounds of a retalliation charge with the EEOC. You asked if it was wise to tell; Linda, it is always wise to speak up when your rights have been violated. You didn't "lose your job", they took it from you.

    October 7, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  3. Susanne

    I have occasionally been stunned by the extreme disdain and increasing harrassment of older individuals in the workplace. There is a pervasive attitude of a right to severe abuse and disrespect especially by young employees. Will it increase as baby boomers continue to work rather than retire due to the economy? There is an escalation by fellow employees as to who has a right to the few jobs that are out there!

    October 7, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  4. johna lovely

    TO: Linda,

    It is always unacceptable to be abused at work. Not reporting your co-workers behavior could have resulted in your life. Go through with the investigation and tell your story to anyone who will listen. Companies have an obligation to protect employees and there is a whistle blowers law in this country. You did the right thing and do not ever regret that. I know so many people regret not stepping up before Erin was killed.

    October 6, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  5. Vickie

    Dear Gary,
    It is against the law, employers have the legal responsibility; as well as, duty of keeping their workplace safe-with non hostile environment. My bachelor degree is in occupational education, Human Resource Management in ladent terms. I am disgusted and do not work in my major, due to how companies run their HR departments. It seems HR departments are at war with the employees they are hired as support for. While acquiring certifications for HR, most of our class time was spent entertaining questions on how to get rid of employees. That is not why I spent over 4yrs studying.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  6. linda marlowe

    I have watched your program about work place violence for the past two mornings. I am able to watch because I lost my job because I reported my coworker's verbal and physical attack.
    There are signs as you said on the program. In my case I went to his superiors four times: three times to his direct supervisor and once to the Director of his department about his behavior toward me. The company I worked for Health Care Excel, home office in Indianapolis, IN. The office I worked in was in Louisville, KY. After he slung a chair across the floor cursed at me began saying derogagtory statement about my job abilities and started down the hallway turned back told me to stay away from him and proceeded to put his hands on my shoulders and push me. The fired the guy, which made several others in the office very angry at me. Two weeks later my supervisor came and told me that they were doing away with my job. So, was it wise to tell and lose my job in this economy. However, I went to the EEOC and they said they could investigate, but that it had to be discrimination. I believe his abuse was related to my age. I am 62. I don't think anything will come of the EEOC investigation, but for my own self-respect I will sign for them to investigate. Emotionally, it has been very difficult and I expect it will be a while before I am over this T

    October 6, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  7. Gary Eicker

    10 years ago i was bullied out of my job, leading to severe depression. Funny you used the example of rearranging the furniture, I was a science teacher with round flat tables in my room to facilitate the use of lab equipment. On a day that i was absent, three teachers removed the round tables and replaced them with chair-desks with slanted tops.

    I have done some research on bullying in the workplace. It is against the law in Great Britain and other European countries...Why not in the US???

    October 6, 2009 at 7:40 am |
  8. Mitch McCue

    Carol, My twin brother and I worked for the Jacksonville Fire Department and we were constantly harrassed for doing the right thing. We exposed racial slurs, favortism, Promotional test tampering (giving the answers to a select few) and sexual harrassment after coming forward the "Good Old Boy "network made it impossiable for us. Under oath the E.O.C. admitted he never took notes during the investigation and the H.R. Director investigated and found wide spread harrassment but, recommended punishment if it happened again. The next few months two firemen were harrassed and one commited sucide, the other was over weight harrassed while running at the training school and died from heat stroke. We have created an You tube account to expose to the world. has been view by over 18,000 people since November 2008. I informed the city council and still four years later no reslove. The dept. is currently under investigation by the Justice and EEOC Dept. Please help us expose the truth before anyone else gets hurt you are our last hope!

    October 5, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  9. Mandy

    I wanted to tell you how pleased I was with this first piece of the workplace violence series...I think Erin's story was a great introduction to letting people know what the families really go through following an incident like this...thank you for coming all the way to Maine to tell Erin's story...I hope that she will touch even just one person's life and prevent one other family from going through the turmoil mine has.

    Thanks so much Carol for reminding the nation about what happened to my beautiful sister Erin.

    Mandy Sylvia
    Mapleton, Maine

    October 5, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  10. robert yoder

    Hi Carol! Violence has permeated every level of our society.Forty years ago our schools replaced right and wrong with situation ethics and relative morality.Today,every aspect of our pop_culture glorifies violence.Slasher movies,Sado-machistic rock and rap lyrics and even video games psychologically influence our aggressive tendencies.Since 2002,the beginning of our Afghan-Iraq War we have lost about 5,000 brave soldiers.During the same time frame 150,000 innocent Americans have been killed!!!The fact that there are more Guns in the USA than people tremendously aggravates the situation!To sum it up,since 2002, 50 times the number of people have been killed in the good ole USa,than lost their lives during 9-11."we have met the enemy and he is US.

    October 5, 2009 at 12:19 pm |