Workplace Violence Prevention

  Workplace Violence Policy

 

 

 

 

 

Workplace Violence- Policy

As an employer, Milwaukee County is concerned about a safe workplace for employees and the public,

  • Towards that end, Milwaukee County is committed to a zero tolerance workplace violence policy and reaffirms the right of all to a safe working environment,

  • The County will not tolerate acts of violence committed by or against County employees or members of the public, while on County property or while engaging in Milwaukee County business at other locations,

  • Moreover: The County will provide support mechanisms for and enforce its commitment to a workplace free from violence.

Goals and Objectives

The objectives of this policy are as follows:

  • Reduce the potential for violence in and around the workplace

  • Encourage and foster a work environment that is characterized by respect and healthy conflict resolution

  • Mitigate the negative consequences for employees who experience or encounter violence while at work

  • Protect employees who are working and who may be experiencing threats of violence from anyone, either an employee or a non-employee

  • Protect employees who are working off County property or in non-County facilities.

Definition of Terms

Workplace Violence can be defined as:

  • Violence by unknown individuals

It includes physical injury & suffering from things such as:

  • Beatings,

  • Stabbing,

  • Shootings,

  • Rapes.

Four categories of Workplace Violence:

Violence Includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Violence by unknown individuals,

  Violence Involves:


  • Carrying or Displaying Weapons,

  • Destroying property,

  • Throwing objects in a manner reasonably perceived to be threatening, or

  • Consists of a communicated or reasonably perceived threat to destroy property.

  • Violence by co-workers,

  • Violence by customers, clients or patients, and
  • Violence by a domestic partner.

Non-physical suffering can include such things as:

Violence Includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Threats,

  • When it is physically assaultive,

  • A reasonable person would perceive as obsessively directed(e.g.,) intensely focused on a grudge, grievance or irrational interest in another person, and reasonably likely to result in harm or threats to persons or property,

  • Consists of a communicated or reasonably perceived threat to harm or endanger the safety of an employee or another individual,

  • Would be interpreted by a reasonable person as having the potential for physical harm to an employee or another individual, or

  • Is a behavior or action that a reasonable person would perceive as menacing.

  • Obscene Telephone Calls,

  • Harassment,
  • Swearing,
  • Shouting,
  • Stalking, or
  • Intimidating Employees.

 

Zero Tolerance

Violent actions on County property or facilities, or while on County business will not be tolerated or ignored,

  • Any violent actions committed by employees or members of the public while on County property, or while using County facilities is prohibited,

  • The County intends to use reasonable, legal, managerial, administrative and corrective action procedures to secure the workplace from violence and/or reasonably protect employees or members of the public,

  • Employees may be subject to corrective action, criminal prosecution, and/or other appropriate action.

Procedures

  • An employee is the victim of a violent act in the workplace should report the situation immediately to his/her supervisor and/or law enforcement personnel in accordance with the procedures established by this policy and the employee's department,

  • An employee who witnesses a violent act  should report such incidents to his/her supervisor or law enforcement personnel in accordance with the procedures established by this policy and the employee's department.

An employee witnessing a violent act directed against another should:

  • Observe the situation, and attempt to get information such as the name of the alleged perpetrator, but only if it can be done without endangering the employee or others.

When applicable:

  • The County and its employees shall cooperate fully with police and other law enforcement officials in the investigation and prosecution of individuals who commit violent acts,

  • The County, when appropriate, may pursue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and an injunction against any person who disrupts the workplace through the harassment of an employee.

Employees who have obtained a TRO or injunction should inform their supervisors:

  • If a County department or employee secures a TRO or injunction related to a County work site, the employee who is the victim of workplace violence will inform the Police District which covers the work site,

  • If a TRO or injunction obtained by an employee at any work site relates to domestic violence, the employee or supervisor will refer to the Milwaukee County Domestic Violence Policy,

  • The supervisor will consider the information given by the employee as confidential and will not inform co-workers of the injunction or TRO unless advised to do so by either the Sheriff's Department, the Department Head, Appointing Authority, or the Office of Corporation Counsel,

  • No employee or Third Party: (except for law enforcement personnel) is permitted to bring weapons or firearms into the workplace,

  • This prohibition extends to carrying weapons or firearms in County vehicles.

Responsibilities

Managers and Supervisors:

  • Managers and supervisors are responsible for:

    •  Assessing potentially violent situations, responding appropriately and then communicating information regarding the situation to the appropriate authority (Manager/Supervisor and/or the Department Head),

    • Any report of violence will be evaluated immediately and confidentially by management, and appropriate action will be taken in order to protect employees,

    • Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken when it is determined that a Milwaukee County employee has committed an act of violence,

    • Where issues of employee safety are of concern, managers and supervisors should evaluate the workplace and take appropriate steps, if any, to eliminate the potential for workplace violence.

Employees:

  • All employees are responsible for: 

    • Refraining from acts of violence in the workplace,

    • Seeking assistance to resolve personal issues that may lead to acts of violence.

Guidelines

When a violent act occurs:

  • If the act or altercation constitutes an emergency, call 911 and immediately advise a manager or supervisor,

  • In instances that are not emergency situations, immediately advise a manager or supervisor, who will contact the appropriate Human Resources representative and/or Safety representative, who will take responsibility for coordinating a response to the incident,

  • In instances that involve emergency situations or suspected criminal activity, the Human Resources representative and/or Safety representative will contact the Sheriff's Department for assessment and, if necessary, investigation,

  • When it is not appropriate to refer an incident to the Sheriff's Department, the Human Resources representatives and/or Safety representative will evaluate the situation and conduct an investigation,

  • In other cases, the Human Resources representative and/or Safety representative, in consultation with the Sheriff's Department and/or the Office of Corporation Counsel will determine who will conduct the investigation,

  • To the extent practicable, investigation and resolutions shall be conducted in a confidential manner with appropriate notice to employee representatives.

When an employee notifies a supervisor/manager of a domestic violence situation spilling into the workplace:

  • The Department Head/Appointing Authority should protect the confidentiality of its employees' names, home addresses and phone numbers, work schedules and locations

  • Department personnel should be wary of unusual requests for identifying information about an employee

  • Only legitimate requests for employee information should be released according to a department's established procedure,

  • Unusual requests should be referred to the appropriate supervisor, for a decision to release requested information,

  • Human Resources will process requests for information about employees according to its current release of information policies in effect (e.g., employment verifications, references, etc.)

Each department should provide the Request To Limit Access Form to An Employee At Work and To Restrict Disclosure Of My Home Address And Telephone Number" form:

Request to Limit Access Form

When an employee turns the form in:

  • The department should make every effort to take appropriate security measures & restrict the release of personal information to the individual identified by the employee in the request

  • The department should forward a copy of the Limit Access form to the Department of Human Resources, and Employee Relations, whose staff should take steps to restrict release of the employee's home address, telephone number, work location and telephone number during the six month "Limit Access" period

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