HR Support on Violence in the Workplace

Editor's Note: Stop the fighting and get back to work.

Ashley ShawOverview: Violence in the workplace can consist of anything from a small altercation between two disputing employees, to a workplace shooting, to a full-blown terrorist act. As part of an overall risk management plan, employers should be on the guard to protect workers from all acts of violence in the workplace.

There are many different forms of workplace violence. The FBI classifies workplace violence into four groups:

  • Type 1: Violence by criminals;
  • Type 2: Violence by customers, clients, etc.;
  • Type 3: Violence by former or current employees;
  • Type 4: Violence by a visitor with a personal relationship to an employee (such as a friend, spouse or other family member).

In the third type, before a situation even gets to the level of violence, there will likely be signs of a problem, such as workplace bullying. HR should address all threats and all signs of workplace bullying before an act of violence occurs. For all types of violence, policies and procedures should be in place that will tell employees how to act and how to handle violence. Employees who work in areas where violence is more likely to occur, such as convenience stores where robberies are more common, should be trained in the proper procedures.

Many employers choose to have zero tolerance policies that state any act of violence, no matter how minor, is immediate grounds for termination. Others choose to offer counseling or other discipline procedures. Whatever the method of prevention, though, it is important to do something to prevent and handle violence. While violence itself is not an OSHA regulated standard, some states do have laws on the topic, and OSHA will fine employers who have an obviously unsafe environment as the result of violence under the General Duty Clause.

Trends: Domestic violence protections have increased in some states over recent years, and several states have laws that will allow an employer to take out a temporary restraining order on behalf of an employee if there is a threat that the domestic violence could be perpetrated in the workplace.

Author: Ashley Shaw, JD, Legal Editor

Latest items in Workplace Violence

  • Weapons in the Workplace Handbook Statement: North Dakota

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    North Dakota employers seeking to prevent workplace violence, provide notice that weapons will not be permitted inside the workplace and show their compliance with the North Dakota law that gives employees the right to keep a lawfully possessed firearm inside a locked personal vehicle in a company parking lot should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Weapons in the Workplace Handbook Statement: Michigan

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Michigan employers seeking to limit or prohibit weapons in the workplace, prevent workplace violence and demonstrate their compliance with the Michigan law that gives employees the right to keep a lawfully possessed firearm inside a locked personal vehicle in certain company parking lots should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Employee Discipline: Kentucky

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Kentucky employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employee discipline.

  • Weapons in the Workplace Handbook Statement: Mississippi

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Mississippi employers seeking to prevent workplace violence, provide notice that weapons will not be permitted inside the workplace and show their compliance with the Mississippi law that gives employees the right to maintain a lawfully possessed firearm inside a locked, personal vehicle should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Weapons in the Workplace Handbook Statement: Oklahoma

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Oklahoma employers seeking to prevent workplace violence, provide notice that weapons will not be permitted inside the workplace and show their compliance with the Oklahoma law that gives employees the right to keep a lawfully possessed firearm inside a locked personal vehicle in a company parking lot should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Weapons in the Workplace Handbook Statement: Florida

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Florida employers seeking to provide notice that weapons will not be permitted inside the workplace and show their compliance with the Florida law that gives employees the right to keep a lawfully possessed firearm inside a locked personal vehicle in a company parking lot should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Weapons in the Workplace Handbook Statement: Texas

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Texas employers seeking to prohibit weapons in the workplace, prevent workplace violence, provide notice that concealed weapons will not be permitted in the workplace and show their compliance with Texas law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Weapons in the Workplace Handbook Statement: Georgia

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Georgia employers seeking to inform employees that weapons in the workplace will not be tolerated, prevent workplace violence and show their compliance with Georgia law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Weapons in the Workplace Handbook Statement: Alaska

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Alaska employers seeking to prohibit weapons in the workplace and show their compliance with Alaska law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Workplace Violence Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to communicate to employees that workplace violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

About this topic

HR guidance on preventing and responding to violence in the workplace. Advice on creating plans and polices that prevent or limit workplace violence.