Last night one of our temporary contract employees put down some tools and left the area for a few minutes. When he returned, the tools were gone.
He was unhappy, which is understandable.
But things progressed from looking around and asking questions, to raised voices, to aggressive body language, to threats and pure unbridled belligerence. A few swings were taken. Luckily, none landed.
The on-site contract supervisor asked for some backup from our off-duty sheriff’s deputy who was moonlighting for us. The law officer came to the scene, and all belligerence stopped immediately. There’s just something about that badge and gun that often takes the fight right out of a man.
The unhappy employee was escorted off the plant site, relieved of his entrance pass, and sent home to cool off.
It turned out that they weren’t his personal tools anyway, but some he was using that belonged to the plant. All he’d needed to do was go over to the warehouse and check out some more. We would then have either found the tools, or been watching for them trying to walk out the gate at shift change; but he would have been cleared and still on the job.
Sure, getting a replacement set would have required him to go (in a golf cart, by the way) some distance away and request it, but that would have been easier than working. But long hours and many days with no time off bring about short fuses.
We decided that our temporary security force (the deputy) was certainly worth what we’re paying to have them there.