Violence in the Workplace Policy
The University is committed to provide a workplace that is free from workplace 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.
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.
- Workplace violence: including, but 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: 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: including, but not limited to unwarranted behavior intended to frighten, coerce, or induce duress.
- Physical attack: unwanted or hostile physical contact including but not limited to hitting, fighting, shoving, restraining, or throwing objects
- Property damage: intentional damage to property and includes property owned by the University or by employees, students, clients, visitors or vendors
- Stalking: 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: 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 & Family Violence: 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: 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:
- Employees must submit a Workplace Violence Reporting Form within thirty (30) calendar days of the Occurrence of the incident being alleged.
- The University’s ability to investigate occurrences older than 30 calendar days may be limited.
The Workplace Violence Reporting Form should be filed with the Workplace Violence Officer within the Office of Human Resources.
- 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.
- 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
Depending on the severity of the threat, a formal investigation may be required. UNC Police 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.
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 UNC Police, 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.
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.