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November 05, 2010
Violence in the Workplace

No one should have to feel threatened by violence when he or she comes to work. Good employee morale necessitates that workers feel safe. Companies can help accomplish this by establishing security procedures such as access control, employee photo identification, badges for visitors, and readily available security personnel. It takes effort from everyone to combat workplace violence.

Company Policy

Many companies adopt a policy stating that there is no tolerance for any form of violence in the workplace. Examples of behaviors that will not be tolerated include:

  • Bringing into the workplace any kind of weapon or other objects that could be used in a threatening or violent way
  • Assaulting or threatening to assault someone
  • Throwing things, destroying property, or similar hostile behaviors
  • Focusing obsessively on a grudge, a grievance, a romantic interest in another employee, or other offensive behavior, such as stalking

Disciplinary Action

If an employee violates any part of the policy on workplace violence, disciplinary action will be taken, up to and including termination, depending on the severity of the incident.

However, employees who need help in dealing with personal or work problems that are generating anger or hostility should be able to take advantage of an employee assistance program to help them deal with their problems.

Options for Employees Who Feel Threatened

If an employee feels threatened, is a victim of violence, or witnesses a violent or potentially violent situation, there are several options. If there are immediate safety concerns, the employee should call Security or 911.

Otherwise, employees are encouraged to first approach their manager or supervisor. But if that person is unavailable, or the complaint is unresolved after talking to the supervisor (or if the supervisor is just not the appropriate choice), the employee can go to the head of the department.

Alternate management contacts may include the head of Security or the Human Resources manager.

Reporting Potential Violence

Employees who come forward to report incidents of violence or who participate in any investigation of violence will not face adverse treatment.

Violence can come from employees, but it can also come from customers, suppliers, or visitors.

Therefore, no one should hesitate to report potential violence and everyone should take an active role in keeping the workplace safe.

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