HR policy - Violence in the workplace policy
|Functional Owner||Chief Human Resources Officer|
|Executive Sponsors||Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance|
|Policy Contact||Assistant Director for Talent Management, Human Resources|
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is committed to an environment which is safe and free from physical assault, threats, and harassing* behaviors for its students, faculty, staff, and visitors. All reports of possible workplace violence will be taken seriously by members of the campus community. The emphasis on campus will be proactive. The goals are education and training, early detection and intervention, and fair and expedient resolution. This policy is the result of cooperative efforts of the campus community including administrators, faculty, academic staff members, classified staff members, and students.
*Sexual harassment is an act, which may be violent, which is dealt with under a separate policy. When the act constitutes sexual harassment, the policy on sexual harassment will be used.
Workplace violence is the attempted, threatened, or actual conduct of a person who endangers or is likely to endanger the health and safety of campus community members (administrators, faculty, academic staff members, classified staff members, and students) or visitors, any threatening statement, harassment, or behavior that gives a campus community member or visitor reasonable cause to believe that their health and safety is at risk.
Violence, threats, and harassment are always prohibited, especially whenever: 1) the act, behavior, or communication is abusive and could cause another person physical, emotional, or psychological harm; and/or, 2) the act, behavior, or communication damages or threatens damage to UW-La Crosse's or an individual's property or disrupts the education, work, or activities of an individual or group of people.
Employees or students who engage in actions or threats of violent behavior toward other employees, students, or the public while at UW-La Crosse will be disciplined, up to and including dismissal and/or arrest. A purpose of this policy is to deal with workplace violence proactively, through education, mediation, consultation, before it escalates to the formal level of disciplinary action. Workplace violence incidents reaching the formal level will be dealt with by relevant rules, regulations, and policies.
Examples of workplace violence include but are not limited to the following:
- Threats of harm
- Brandishing a weapon or an object which appears to be a weapon
- Intimidating, threatening, or directing abusive language toward another person
- Stalking a campus community member or visitor anywhere on the campus
- Slapping, punching, or otherwise physically attacking a person
- Telling another person you will "beat them up" to intimidate them
- Putting your closed fist close to another's face in an intimidating/threatening manner
- Using greater physical size/strength or greater institutional power to intimidate another
Criminal Complaints of Workplace Violence: Any individual who experiences or witnesses violence, threats of violence or harassing behavior, or who has reason to suspect that these acts or behaviors are occurring, and may be of a criminal nature, should immediately notify Protective Services. If these acts or behaviors occur off campus the local law enforcement jurisdiction should be contacted. If the incidents are likely to be work-related or could continue in the work place, Protective Services should be notified.
Protective Services will investigate any criminal allegation or coordinate with the local law enforcement agency and provide a report(s) on the result(s) to Human Resources. Alleged behaviors that may not be criminal may still be subject to UWL policy and subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination subject to applicable state statutes and contractual agreements.
Non-Criminal Allegations of Workplace Violence: Alleged behaviors that may not be criminal may still be subject to UWL policy. A student, faculty, staff, or visitor may wish to request informal campus review and action. If this is the case she/he should inform their supervisor, any dean or division officer, an employee representative, Protective Services, or Human Resources, either orally or in writing within 30 calendar days of the last occurrence. It is not necessary to inform a direct supervisor first if an employee would prefer to discuss this matter with any of the other individuals in the positions listed above.
The supervisor, dean or division officer, employee representative, or Human Resources staff will talk with the person reporting the workplace violence to get details about the events with the primary goal being to provide an opportunity to resolve the concerns through mediation, conflict resolution, and conciliation. Informal procedures at this time include, but are not limited to, separate meetings with the parties involved, joint meetings with the parties involved, meetings of only the parties involved.
If resolution does not appear probable, referral of the complainant will be made to the appropriate UW-La Crosse formal process for the complaint. Any member of the campus community can go directly to the appropriate formal process. The appropriate formal process will depend on the classification of the parties involved and the facts of the specific case.
Confidentiality: Confidentiality is important to encourage discussion on campus. Confidentiality will be maintained insofar as it is legal and ethical. It is not guaranteed. Depending upon the facts of a case it may be necessary for the University to take action, including consultation with others.
Retaliation: To better ensure a safe workplace and to encourage responsible reporting of violence in the workplace, retaliation or harassment against a person making a report in good faith, will not be tolerated and may subject the person engaging in alleged retaliation to discipline by relevant UWL policy.
NOTE: This Policy is intended to provide a foundation upon which more specific campus actions will be developed and evaluated for effectiveness that deal with such concerns as: support of victims of, and witnesses to, campus workplace violence, and their colleagues and family members; preventive measures such as education and training; and data collection, analysis, and utilization.
- UW-La Crosse Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation: https://www.uwlax.edu/globalassets/offices-services/equity--affirmative-action/discriminationpolicy.pdf
- UW-La Crosse Policy on Workplace Expectations and Disciplinary Guidelines for University Staff: https://www.uwlax.edu/human-resources/workplace-expectation-and-disciplinary-guidelines-policy/
- UW System Administrative Policy 1292 Workplace Conduct Expectations: https://www.wisconsin.edu/uw-policies/uw-system-administrative-policies/workplace-conduct-expectations/