Here is a graph I generated with Google Insight Trends, showing the search results for "bullying" since Google's inception in 2004:
The trend of concern about bullying is not just regarding school yard bullying. Workplace bullying has been a rising topic of concern as well. Here is a graph of Google searches for "workplace bullying" in the US compared with searches for "workplace violence":
At the same time that searches for "workplace bullying" have been increasing, searches for "workplace violence" have been decreasing. This would tend to play into Pinker's general theory: severe workplace violence is in decline and now people are turning their attention to more nuanced forms of it.
That of course rests on the assumption that workplace violence is down historically. Is it?
There are of course recent examples of high profile workplace violence and certainly violence persists in many workplaces. The DOL states that 2 million workers are the victims of workplace violence each year. They have been using that same figure since 2002, and so it's hard to read a trend into it. The DOL's figures are largely made up of employees being attacked by nonemployees (robbers, customers, etc.). Certain types of workplace violence are down for sure, such as clashes between unions and Pinkerton guards. How about fights/attacks between coworkers? A lot more people with violent temperaments find themselves in jail and out of the workplace today than they did historically, so you figure that would lower the number of intra-employee fights. The growth in background checks is likely keeping the violent out of workplaces and the mere fact that background checks are conducted likely acts as somewhat of a deterrent.
This graph from a Boston Globe article shows that employees in 2008 were being killed less frequently by nonemployees than they had been in 1997, but just as frequently by other employees:
I imagine that the workers' comp attorneys would have as good of a pulse on this as anyone would. If anyone has some statistics or anecdotal thoughts on the subject, please drop a comment or send me an email.