Safe Workplace Policy

Introduction
The University of Wisconsin-River Falls 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, and classified staff members. The collaborative effort that developed this policy shows that a safe work environment is in the interest of all employees of the university and that prevention of workplace violence through training and mediation is the best way to ensure a safe work environment. This policy replaces the Employee Policy for Workplace Threats and Violence distributed to employees on November 27, 2006. This policy should not be construed as a comment on the legitimacy of the previous work place violence document.

Policy Statement
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.

Violence, threats, and harassment are always prohibited. Especially egregious are situations where: 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-River Falls' or an individual's property or disrupts the education, work, or activities of an individual or group of people.

Employees who engage in actions or threats of violent behavior toward other employees, students, or the public while at UW-River Falls 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 may 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
    * Non-verbal threats such as 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

Procedure
Training: The University of Wisconsin–River Falls Human Resources Department is responsible for initiating training regarding the early detection, mediation, and prevention of workplace violence. This training will take place for all employees with special attention to training of front line supervisors and public safety officers.

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 University Police or local law enforcement. 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, University Police should be notified.

University Police 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 UWRF 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 UWRF 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, University Police, 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, and meetings of only the parties involved.

If resolution does not appear probable, referral of the complainant will be made to the appropriate UW-River Falls 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.

False accusations are a serious matter and will be resolved through established procedures .

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 UWRF policy. Retaliation is prohibited regardless of the outcome of the underlying complaint.

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.

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.