Workplace Violence Policy

Initiated: March 8, 1999 Approved: June 10, 1999
Revised: September 12, 2001

Purpose

To establish a policy pertaining to the prohibition and investigation of incidents of violence, intimidation, and inappropriate aggression.

Applicability

All University employees, full time, part time, temporary, casual labor, students.

Policy

It is the policy of Northern Michigan University that all acts of violence by employees, students or visitors will be taken seriously and will be dealt with appropriately. All violent acts, or threats of violence should be reported and a single incident is sufficient ground for investigation, and may result in disciplinary action including termination, and/or arrest and prosecution.

References

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Section 5(a) (1), Act 154 of Public Acts of 1974 as amended, Rule 408.1011, Section 11 and Public Act 381.

Initiating Department/Division

Public Safety & Police Services

Procedures

I. Scope:

This policy applies to all faculty, staff and student employees of the University and applies to acts of violence, intimidation, and inappropriate aggression of various types.

II. Definition:

Workplace violence is defined as any physical assault, with or without weapons, behavior that a reasonable person would interpret as violent (e.g., throwing items, pounding on objects, or destroying property) and specific threats to inflict physical harm or damage property.

III. Weapons:

Northern Michigan University Ordinances specifically prohibit the possession of weapons on property owned, leased or under the control of the University.

  1. Weapons are defined under the ordinance as any object capable of firing a projectile.
  2. This prohibition includes keeping a weapon in a vehicle in a parking area.
  3. Faculty, staff and students are prohibited from carrying concealed weapons on any property owned or under the control of the University.
  4. The only exceptions are certified police officers employed by the University or a recognized police agency.
  5. Violations of this ordinance may result in disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution.

IV. Personal Protective or Restraining Orders:

Faculty, staff or students who have been issued a personal protective order or restraining order shall provide Public Safety with a copy of the order.

V. Contributing Factors:

Several factors have been identified as contributing factors to incidents of workplace violence.

  • Exchange of money
  • Working alone at night and during early morning hours
  • Availability of valued items
  • Availability of prescription drugs
  • Performing Public Safety functions
  • Working with patients, clients, customers, or students known or suspected to have a history of violence.
  • Employees, including former employees, with a history of assaults, or who exhibit belligerent, intimidating or threatening behavior
  • Employees or students who have been the object of belligerent, intimidating, or threatening behavior from family members or significant others.
  1. The Public Safety Crime Prevention and Security Specialist may conduct a security survey of the work place to determine the potential for workplace violence.
  2. Any department head or employee may request a security survey of their work area by calling the Crime Prevention Office at the Department of Public Safety.

VI. Reporting Procedures:

  1. Emergencies: For immediate assistance in an emergency (assault, direct threat of violence, attempted suicide, or any incident involving hostage, or weapon) or any crime in progress, or if you believe the situation is an emergency, dial 9-1-1.
  2. Reporting a Crime: Call the Department of Public Safety dispatcher line at 227-2151.
  3. Reporting Acts of Workplace Violence: If the act appears to represent an immediate threat or harm to any individual, it should be reported to Public Safety immediately.
    1. Any supervisor who becomes aware of an act of violence shall immediately report it to the Director, Public Safety (or designee).
    2. In situations where a person witnesses an instance of workplace violence Public Safety should be contacted immediately.
    3. Any employee who becomes aware of an act of violence shall immediately report it to their supervisor. 
  4. When Immediate Action is Not Required: When concerned that a violent incident may occur and the concern is not based upon a threatened, attempted or actual violent incident, the employee should notify their immediate supervisor.
    1. Supervisors who become aware that an employee is concerned about an incident of potential violence should notify the Director, Public Safety (or designee).
    2. If the act appears to represent an immediate threat or harm to any individual, it should be reported to Public Safety immediately.
  5. This policy excludes incidents of sexual harassment because they are dealt with under separate University policy.
  6. Some disruptive, threatening, or violent behavior is prohibited by Michigan law. When appropriate, the University will refer cases to the Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney for possible criminal prosecution.
  7. An individual may be excluded from NMU property for certain reasons, including disruptive, threatening, or violent behavior. Faculty, staff or students may be suspended or put on leave under applicable University policies.
  8. No person who files a complaint, testifies, assists, or participates in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing, shall be intimidated, threatened, coerced, or discriminated against by any other person within the University community.

VII. The Role of Public Safety:

Public Safety's primary role is to provide an immediate response to a crisis in progress. Not only by dispatching police officers but also by requesting and coordinating other emergency services, if needed. Prior to an actual occurrence, Public Safety's involvement will include the following: Participation on the Threat Assessment Team, providing physical security for threatened or at-risk persons, confronting the potentially violent person (under certain circumstances); enforcing applicable laws; and thoroughly investigating and documenting all incidents and actions. In addition, Public Safety will conduct all employee background investigations and serve as the repository for all personal protective orders.

VIII. The Role Of Human Resources:

Human Resources is responsible for assisting in the prevention of violence in the workplace by providing advice and counsel to managers, supervisors, and employees when faced with threats or other situations that have the potential for violence. Human Resources will assist campus departments in the implementation of appropriate personal practices used in the hiring, supervision and retention of employees. They will also assist, as appropriate, in the investigation of threats of violence and addresses related issues that are of legitimate concern to employees.

IX. Threat Assessment Team: 

  1. There are three key elements in Northern Michigan University's approach to addressing the occurrence of workplace violence. The first is a commitment to progressive and humane human resource practices, including comprehensive background investigations. The second is an unequivocal refusal to tolerate violent acts. The third is the use of a threat assessment team (TAT) as a key response tool.
  2. When a situation of potential or actual violence arises, any University employee may activate the workplace violence response mechanism by reporting it to any supervisor or Public Safety. In all cases, the information is channeled to the Director, Public Safety (or designee) whose responsibility is to immediately make a determination if the allegation warrants convening the threat assessment team. 

X. Composition of the Threat Assessment Team:

A team approach has been developed and implemented to address concerns about an employee or incident which could be potentially threatening to the campus community. The team approach allows the supervisor or employee to meet with appropriate professionals at the same time and provides a broad perspective on how to handle a potential problem. There may be times when only one or two team members will be called to respond to a particular incident. Confidentiality is adhered to except when danger to self or other becomes apparent. Federal laws require mandated reporting to appropriate authorities when potential violence to an identified person or workplace is reported.

  • Director, Public Safety (or designee)
  • Director, Human Resources (or designee)
  • Risk Manager
  • Dean of Students (Incidents Involving Students)
  • University Counseling Center Representative
  • University Community Representative (Faculty or Staff member)
  • Student Representative (Incidents Involving Students)
  • Employee Assistance Program Representative
  • Employee's Department Head
  1. When an incident is referred to the Threat Assessment Team by the Director, Public Safety, they will investigate the incident and determine measures to prevent reoccurrences. A report outlining the result of the investigation and recommendations for preventive action will be prepared and submitted to the University President.
  2. The Threat Assessment Team may also be asked to assess the risk of violence in the workplace and make recommendation to address the situation and prevent violence from occurring.
  3. The following protocol will be followed by the Threat Assessment Team or Public Safety:
    1. Reviewing Previous Incidents
    2. Visiting the scene of an incident as soon as possible
    3. Interviewing threatened or injured employees and witnesses
    4. Examining the workplace for security risk factors associated with the incident, including previous reports of inappropriate behavior by the perpetrator.
    5. Determining the cause of the incident
    6. Taking corrective action to prevent the incident from recurring
    7. Recording the findings and corrective actions taken

XI. Dissemination of the Policy:

 The workplace violence policy is disseminated to all University Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors and Department Heads. They will distribute it among their employees.

Approved ON: June 10, 1999
Revision Approved On: September 12, 2001
Signature: /s/ Judith I. Bailey