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Violence in the Workplace


Updated July 2013
Revised November 2005
Revised March 2003
Revised February 2001
Adopted February 07, 1995

MEMORANDUM

TO: Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Deans, Directors, Department Heads
   
FROM: Tim Caskey, Director
   
RE: Guidelines for Dealing with Threats and Violence in the Workplace

One of the disturbing new trends taking place in the larger society, but also affecting our university communities, has been the growing number of persons who threaten others or act out violently in the workplace. For many of these incidents, early warning signs have been present.

The purpose of this memorandum is to request that you communicate across your unit the following three guidelines for those who witness violence or are aware of behavior that is threatening to their safety or the safety of others.

1) Any individual should call 911 for police assistance if he or she observes violence taking place or believes/feels there may be an immediate threat to someone's safety.

2) All faculty, staff, and student workers should communicate to an administrator or supervisor any knowledge of violence or threatening behavior including possession of a weapon in the workplace.

3) Administrators and supervisors should call 911 for consultation assistance if they believe or feel there is an emerging potential threat to someone's safety. This number will connect the caller with the UMD Police Department. The caller should tell the operator that he/she wishes to be contacted by a UMD officer and indicate if the situation is urgent.

*********************************************************************

VIOLENCE TAKES MANY FORMS

LEVEL ONE

  • Refuses to cooperate with immediate supervisor
  • Spreads rumors and gossips to harm others
  • Continually argues with co-workers
  • Is belligerent toward customers/clients
  • Swears at others
  • Makes unwanted sexual comments

LEVEL TWO

  • Argues with customers, vendors, co-workers and management
  • Refuses to obey university policies and procedures
  • Commits small acts of sabotage of equipment and stealing property for revenge
  • Verbalizes wishes to hurt co-workers and/or management
  • Sends sexual or violent notes to co-workers and/or management
  • Sees self as victimized by management (me against them)

LEVEL THREE - Frequent displays of intense anger resulting in:

  • Recurrent suicidal threats
  • Recurrent physical fights
  • Destruction of property
  • Utilization of weapons to harm others
  • Commission of murder, rape and/or arson

THERE ARE MANY RISK FACTORS AND WARNING SIGNS THAT MAY SIGNAL POTENTIAL WORKPLACE VIOLENCE, INCLUDING:

  • a history of interpersonal conflict with co-workers or supervisors
  • a history of unwelcome sexual comments or threats of physical assault
  • a recent termination or lay off or perception that he/she soon will be
  • a sense of persecution/injustice - decreased social connectedness/support
  • recent stress related to family, finances, or health
  • being intrigued by previous workplace violence incidents
  • difficulty accepting criticism
  • holding grudges, especially against supervisors
  • extremist opinions and attitudes, especially religious and political
  • a sense of entitlement - physical/verbal intimidation
  • a fascination with weapons

Adapted from S. Anthony Baron, Violence in the Workplace Procedure


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The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on 04/08/14 02:48 PM
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