The street shooting Friday morning near New York’s landmark Empire State Building, in which an ex-employee killed his former boss, is a tragic reminder that workplace-related violence remains a consistent, if sporadic, problem – one that more American companies have sought to address by adopting more humane firing policies.

β€œIn the early 1990s, there was an outbreak of workplace shootings, and as a result bosses and supervisors became very insecure and for the sake of personal safety decided to use more humane firing practices to protect themselves,” says Jack Levin, a professor of sociology and criminology at Northeastern University in Boston.