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Violence in the Workplace Policy

Quick Reference: Reporting Workplace Violence

Workplace violence should be reported to either UNC Public Safety or Employee & Management Relations (E&MR) in the Office of Human Resources, depending on the circumstances.


Violence currently in progress or immediate threats of violence should be reported to UNC Public Safety (dial 911) for emergency response coordination. The reporting party should then report the threat to Employee & Management Relations.


Potential threats of violence should be immediately reported to Employee & Management Relations at 919-843-3444.


UNC Public Safety will assess the nature of the threat and may refer the reporting party to Employee & Management Relations, depending upon the circumstances.


The University is committed to provide a workplace that is free from violence by establishing preventative measures, by holding perpetrators of violence accountable, and by providing assistance and support to victims. An Employee Threat Assessment and Response Team has been established to evaluate both immediate and potential threats of workplace violence. Any form of violence as defined in this policy may be cause for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, as unacceptable personal conduct. Violent acts, whether on-duty or off-duty, affect the ability of all employees to perform their jobs. The University will apply all useful management tools to accomplish the dual purpose of reducing the effects of violence on victims and the University community as well as hold perpetrators of violence accountable for their actions. Employee & Management Relations, UNC Public Safety, and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) have been designated to provide services to workplace violence victims.

Prohibition on Retaliation and False Reports

All employees are encouraged to be alert to the possibility of violence on the part of employees, former employees, students, clients, visitors or vendors and shall report all acts of violence and threats of violence to University administration as provided in this policy.

This policy prohibits retaliation against any employee who, in good faith, reports a violation of this policy. All reports of violence will be handled in a confidential manner, with information released on a need-to-know basis. University managers and administrators shall be sensitive and responsive to fears from the reporting employee of reprisal.

Deliberately false or misleading claims of violence that appear to have been filed with the intention to harass or that appear to be frivolous or an abuse of the violence reporting process shall be considered instances of unacceptable personal conduct and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

Definitions of Prohibited Behaviors

Workplace violence includes, but is not limited to: intimidation, bullying, stalking, threats, physical attack, property damage, or domestic and family violence. This includes acts of violence committed by or against University employees. Such incidents may also involve students, clients, visitors or vendors.

Bullying is unwanted offensive and malicious behavior that undermines an individual or group through persistently negative attacks. The behavior generally includes an element of vindictiveness, and is intended to undermine, patronize, humiliate, intimidate or demean the recipient.

Intimidation includes but is not limited to unwarranted behavior intended to frighten, coerce, or induce duress.

Physical attack is unwanted or hostile physical contact including but not limited to hitting, fighting, shoving, restraining, or throwing objects.

Property damage is intentional damage to property and includes property owned by the University or by employees, students, clients, visitors or vendors.

Stalking involves harassing or pestering an individual in person, in writing, by telephone or by electronic format. Stalking also involves following an individual, spying on them, alarming the recipient, or causing them distress and may involve physical violence or the fear of physical violence.

Threat is the expression of intent to cause physical or mental harm. An expression constitutes a threat without regard to whether the party communicating the threat has the present ability to carry out the threat and without regard to whether the expression is contingent, conditional, or future.

Domestic and Family Violence is the use of abusive or violent behavior, including threats and intimidation, between people who have an ongoing or a prior intimate relationship (including people who are married, live together or date, or who have been married, lived together or dated) or between family members.

Weapons are any objects that may be used to intimidate, attack, or injure another person or to damage property. Objects understood to have a primary function as a weapon are not allowed on campus unless expressly authorized under this policy or under State law.


This policy applies to all employees of the University, regardless of appointment type. The University administrative unit responsible for providing guidance to management for each appointment type is listed below:


Administrative Unit
to Consult

SPA permanent employees (including probationary, time-limited, and trainee)
SPA non-student temporary employees
EPA Non-Faculty permanent employees
EPA temporary appointments (including chief medical residents, medical fellows, and EPA Student Employees)

Employee & Management Relations, Office of Human Resources


Faculty Personnel, Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost

Post-doctoral scholars

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

SPA student employees

Dean of Students

Note: Please refer to the Quick Reference section at the beginning of this policy for reporting workplace violence.

Prohibited Actions and Sanctions

It is a violation of this policy to:

  • Engage in workplace violence as defined by this policy
  • Possess, use, or threaten to use an unauthorized weapon as defined by this policy
  • Misuse authority vested to any employee of the University in such a way that it violates this policy
  • Engage in off-duty violent conduct that has a potential adverse impact on the University and its employees, students, clients, visitors, or vendors

A violation of this policy shall be considered unacceptable personal conduct as provided in the disciplinary policies applicable to the employee’s appointment type. Acts of violence, as defined herein, may be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

An act of off-duty violent conduct may be covered by this policy and may also be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. In these situations, department management, in consultation with appropriate University administrative unit (see Coverage section above) must demonstrate that the disciplinary action is supported by the existence of a significant correlation between the type of violent conduct committed and the potential adverse impact on the University and its employees, students, clients, visitors, and vendors.

Authorized Exceptions for Possession of a Weapon

An employee may possess a weapon if possession is:

  • In compliance with North Carolina law
  • Used by an employee who is a certified law enforcement officer
  • Required as a part of the employee’s job duties with the University
  • Connected with training received by the employee in order to perform the responsibilities of their job with the University

Threat Assessment

The University has developed an Employee Threat Assessment and Response Team (ETART) that will assess and respond to immediate and potential acts of workplace violence. The team’s core group is composed of representatives from Employee & Management Relations, UNC Public Safety, the Office of University Counsel and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The team may consult with the organizational unit with administrative oversight for the appointment type of the perpetrator and the victim as well as other auxiliary members, as necessary. The team will be responsible for receiving threat reports, conducting thorough assessments, determining appropriate responses, tracking and reporting workplace violence information, and conducting related training.

Depending on the severity of the threat, a formal investigation may be required. UNC Public Safety will conduct criminal investigations, if necessary. Employee & Management Relations will conduct workplace violence investigations. Threat assessments will consider all details relevant to the threat and will assess the totality of circumstances when determining an appropriate action.

For more information and examples of immediate and/or potential threats, please see “Related Forms” section below.

Support and Protections

The University will make efforts to protect victims of workplace violence by offering all feasible security measures. Victims may also need special accommodations or adjustments to their work schedule, work location or working conditions in order to enhance their safety. The University will accommodate these requests and needs whenever possible and appropriate. The University will work closely with victims to assure that both the needs of the victims and the University are addressed.

Management is expected to offer reasonable support to victims of workplace violence, which includes domestic and family violence, whenever feasible. This support may include encouragement of the victim to use the services of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or Department of Public Safety, as appropriate. In addition, management shall grant a victim the use of available paid leave, accumulated paid time off, leave without pay, and/or flexible work scheduling for medical, court, or counseling appointments related to trauma and/or victimization. Employees can also use Family & Medical Leave and/or Family Illness Leave if eligible.

Reporting Responsibilities & Procedures

After UNC Public Safety or Employee & Management Relations have been notified as indicated in the Quick Reference: Reporting Workplace Violence section (above), all incidents must be reported to Employee & Management Relations in writing. A Workplace Violence Guide has been developed to assist in identifying workplace violence warning signs and reporting threats and can be accessed in the “Related Forms” section below. A Workplace Violence Reporting Form that can be used to document workplace violence is available in the “Related Forms” section below.

E&MR should receive the reporting form as soon as practicable, generally within two business days of the incident. Should a violence incident go unreported and is later discovered to have occurred, management remains obliged to report the incident to E&MR in the Office of Human Resources.

E&MR will coordinate with other University administrative units to investigate the report. Depending on the nature of the incident, the University may require management in the department(s) in which the incident occurred to perform a more detailed investigation. Some issues, such as domestic or family violence, may be referred directly to UNC Public Safety or the Employee Assistance Program without involving department management.

Generally, department management is responsible for ensuring the completed form is received by E&MR. However, a participant in (or witness to) a violence incident may contact Employee & Management Relations directly (by phone, email, or in person) to report the incident. In such instances, E&MR staff will complete the reporting form with the assistance of the informant.


If you have questions about this policy, contact your supervisor, your School/Division HR Officer, or Employee & Management Relations in the Office of Human Resources.

Related subjects

Related forms