Workplace Violence Policy

Overview

Section 1. INTRODUCTION

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs recognized that Workplace Violence can result in the needless suffering of employees and can have a negative impact on the workplace. Violence in the workplace is increasing and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is not exempt from this trend. Violence in the workplace may appear in different forms and can include direct or indirect threatening, verbal and physical assaults, domestic disputes, sabotage or behavior that disrupts and creates a hostile work environment. It is the policy of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to provide a workplace free of violence and the threat of violence to all employees.

Section 2. DEFINITIONS

a. "Act of Violence" means an act of physical violence including, but not limited to, pushing, shoving, punching, striking, pinching, biting, kicking, wrestling or slapping.

b. "Threat of Violence" means a threat or implied threat of immediate or future harm, made seriously or in jest, whether orally, in writing or by an employee’s conduct or physical gesturing, that a reasonable person would construe as coercive, intimidating, or menacing. The use of vulgar or obscene language or racial or ethnic slurs or slanderous remarks may also be construed as "threats of violence".

c. "Workplace" means the area in which an employee is assigned to work whether or not this area is located specifically on the Grounds of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or the field Offices of Advocacy and Assistance. Workplace includes buildings, vehicles, grounds and parking areas.

d. "Weapon" means an instrument or body part that could be utilized to commit an act of violence or a threat of violence. Such instruments or body parts include but are not limited to, firearms, knives, bats, hands and feet.

e. "Firearms" means any firearm, model, replica, ammunition or any object the outline of which represents a firearm.

Section 3. VIOLATIONS OF POLICY

a. Acts of violence in the workplace and creating a hostile work environment are prohibited and any employee who commits such an act shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

b. Threats of violence in the workplace are prohibited and any employee who commits such an act shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

c. Possession of a firearm on the grounds of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is prohibited except for Law Enforcement Personnel and classified state employees that reside on the grounds. Employees who reside on the grounds of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs must keep their firearms secured at their residence except during transportation on and off the grounds. Brandishment of a weapon in the workplace is prohibited and is grounds for discipline, up to and including termination.

d. Anyone who is suspected of having an unauthorized firearm or dangerous weapon will be immediately isolated, searched and the Rocky Hill Police Department will be immediately notified.

Section 4. HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT

a. A hostile work environment is conduct that has the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment or unreasonably interferes with a person’s work performance.

b. any verbal abuse and epithets, degrading comments, the display of pictures, words or objects that another person may find offensive.

c. Other forms of creating an intimidating, offensive and hostile work environment are lying, gossiping, degradation, and disrespect towards anyone and any employee who commits such an act shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

Section 5. REPORTING PROCEDURES

a. All employees who either experience or observe an act of violence or threat of violence must report the incident to a supervisor. The supervisor shall inform the Security Department immediately by calling (860) 616-3610. Every employee, patient or visitor must report workplace violence preferably in writing and when at all practical. Workplace violence can also be reported using the anonymous reporting procedure by calling Extension 2976. Acts or workplace violence must be reported and failure to do so is grounds for discipline, up to and including termination.

b. The Security Department will immediately notify the Director of Safety and Security of all incidents of workplace violence. The Rocky Hill Police Department will be notified of any incidents of workplace violence involving firearms, bodily harm, and domestic disputes. Other acts of workplace violence may be handled through in-house administrative procedures or at the victim’s request, through the Law Enforcement Department.

c. Each incident will be evaluated and an appropriate remedy will be provided based on the nature of the offense, duration, totality of circumstance and past offenses.

d. There may be some situations when confidentiality cannot be guaranteed to the person reporting workplace violence, witnesses or victims.

January 7, 2005