Workplace Violence

University Policy: 

I. Policy and Purpose

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is committed to providing a workplace that is free from Workplace Violence by holding perpetrators of Workplace Violence accountable, and by providing assistance and support to victims. Any form of Workplace Violence as defined in this Policy may be cause for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, as unacceptable personal conduct. The University will apply all useful management tools to accomplish the dual purpose of reducing the effects of violence on victims and the University community as well as holding perpetrators of violence accountable for their actions.

II.  Definitions

A. Bullying is unwanted offensive and malicious behavior that undermines or attempts to undermine an individual or group through persistently negative actions.  Bullying typically includes an element of vindictiveness, and the behavior is calculated to undermine, patronize, humiliate, intimidate, or demean the recipient.

B. Domestic Violence (for the purposes of this Policy) is the use of abusive or violent behavior, including threats or intimidation, between people who have an ongoing or prior intimate or romantic relationship.  Such relationships include people who are married, live together intimately, or date; people who share a child in common; and people who have previously been married, lived together intimately, or dated.

C. Intimidation is engaging in actions intended to frighten, coerce, or induce duress.

D. Physical Attack is unwanted or hostile physical contact including, but not limited to, hitting, fighting, pushing, restraining, shoving, or targeting with thrown objects.

E. Sexual Assault is any sexual act directed against another person, without consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent. A sexual act includes, but is not limited to, sexual intercourse, oral sex, and the touching of private body parts.

F. Stalking (for the purposes of this Policy) is engaging in a course of conduct (two or more acts) directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (b) suffer substantial emotional distress.  Stalking may include electronic communications (such as emails, text messages, or social media messages), following an individual, or spying on an individual.

G. Threat is the expression of intent to cause physical or mental harm. Such an expression constitutes a threat without regard to whether the party communicating the threat has the present ability to carry it out and without regard to whether the expression is contingent, conditional or future.

H. Workplace Violence encompasses a broad range of behaviors that can affect the campus or the workplace, may generate reasonable concerns for personal safety, or may result in physical injury, and includes, but is not limited to, Bullying, Domestic Violence, Intimidation, Physical Attack, Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Threat, as those terms are defined in this Policy, as well as intentional damage to property owned by the State, University, employees, or students, or campus visitors or vendors. Workplace Violence includes acts of violence committed by employees, former employees, students, contractors, clients, visitors, or vendors against State employees in the workplace.

III. Applicability

This Policy applies to all University employees while on University property, while conducting University business, or while engaging in University-sponsored programs or activities.

IV. Compliance

It is a violation of this Policy to engage in Workplace Violence while on University property, while conducting University business, or while engaging in University-sponsored programs or activities. It is a violation of this Policy to engage in Workplace Violence outside of the workplace or off University property if such behavior affects the safety and security of the University community or any of its members while in the workplace or on campus.

V. Roles and Responsibilities

A. General

It is the responsibility of all University employees to conduct themselves in such a way as to contribute to a workplace that is free of violence. University administrators and supervisors have a special responsibility to create and maintain such an environment. Should administrators or supervisors have knowledge of conduct that creates Workplace Violence or receive a complaint of Workplace Violence under their administrative jurisdiction, they must immediately report the matter as described in Section VI.A.2. Taking positive steps to educate and sensitize employees with respect to this issue is also a responsibility of University administration.

B. Responsible Institutional Officer

The Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources is designated as Coordinator under this Policy and has overall responsibility for implementation of policies and procedures related to Workplace Violence. The Coordinator is responsible for maintenance of records and preparation of requested reports on Workplace Violence.

C.  Education and Training

The Coordinator will coordinate the design and presentation of training and education of supervisors regarding the signs of potential Workplace Violence. Advice and assistance will be solicited from other University resources on the contents of the training and education program, to assess the effectiveness of the program, and to determine revisions as necessary to this Policy.

VI.  Procedures

A. Reporting Process

To address incidents of Workplace Violence and to ensure prompt and effective resolution of these incidents, the University has established the following process:

  1. All University employees are encouraged to be alert to the possibility of Workplace Violence on the part of employees, former employees, students, contractors, clients, visitors, or vendors and shall report all acts of Workplace Violence and threats of Workplace Violence to University administration as provided in this Policy.
  2. When a University employee experiences or has knowledge of Workplace Violence, the first action is to inform immediately the appropriate supervisor or administrator. The supervisor or administrator will:
    1. Report the information to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX if the information relates to alleged Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, or Stalking; or
    2. Report the information to the Coordinator if the information relates to faculty or staff victims and does not involve alleged Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, or Stalking; or 
    3. Report the information to the Dean of Students Office if the information relates to student employee victims and does not involve alleged Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, or Stalking.

If a supervisor or administrator is not present, or the reporter of the Workplace Violence is not comfortable reporting the incident to a supervisor or administrator, the reporter may contact the appropriate office listed above. All reports of Workplace Violence will be handled in a confidential manner, with information released only as necessary for disciplinary or law enforcement investigations or to protect or promote the health and safety of individuals.

  1. Police and Public Safety is also available to assist in response to Workplace Violence if the victim requests police involvement.  Police and Public Safety should be contacted immediately when an individual believes there is an imminent threat to the individual’s own, or someone else’s, safety.
  2. If persons involved in Workplace Violence need assistance beyond intervention at the scene, they may contact or be referred to the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (student employee victims) or the Employee Assistance Program (staff and faculty victims).
  3. Victims of Workplace Violence (which includes Domestic Violence) may need leave time for appointments (counseling, court, etc.) or other accommodations (flex scheduling, relocation to a different work area, etc.) in response to the Workplace Violence.  Supervisors and administrators should support such requests for accommodations to the extent possible.  Human Resources and Police and Public Safety are available to consult with supervisors and administrators on such accommodations. 
  4. Incidents of Workplace Violence will be processed according to the appropriate University policy or procedure based on the type of alleged conduct and the employment classification of the alleged perpetrator. These other University policies may include both specific support for victims, including as required by federal law, and specific procedural or investigatory steps.
  5. Inquiries from the media about any incident of Workplace Violence should be directed to the University Communications.
  6. In cases that involve a student perpetrating Workplace Violence against an employee, information may be shared with Ninercare, which is a network designed to bring together information in order to identify students who have demonstrated behavior of concern to members of the UNC Charlotte community.  Ninercare helps to develop an objective, coordinated action plan to collect information, assist the student, and protect the University community.

B.  Emergency Operations Center

The University has in place an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to respond to critical incidents of Workplace Violence that affect the University community and has precedence over the process previously identified in this Policy. The EOC may respond to Workplace Violence that has been identified as critical in nature and as life-threatening situations (e.g., gun violence, hostage, bomb). 

The Coordinator will first notify the Police and Public Safety Watch Commander who has the responsibility for directing the response and making appropriate notification about the critical and/or emergency situation. The Watch Commander will immediately notify the Chief of Police, who will notify appropriate campus officials.

C.  Domestic Violence

Employees may receive information and assistance in obtaining a protective order (i.e., civil no-contact order, restraining order, etc.) for Domestic Violence situations from Police and Public Safety.  Employees who have an active protective order are encouraged to share this information with Police and Public Safety so they are aware of potential threats.  Employees are also encouraged to contact the Employee Relations Department to explore strategies to keep the workplace safe (e.g., removal of identifying information from campus directories, notification to co-workers, etc.).

D.  Remedial Action

Remedial actions will depend on the severity of the incident. University authorities may direct a faculty member or a staff member who violates this Policy to the Employee Assistance Program, or may refer the matter for disciplinary action in accordance with University procedures applicable to the individual's status as student employee, or to the employee's category of employment. Disciplinary action may include discharge from employment or expulsion of a student employee.

In some cases, the University may seek a civil no-contact order, trespass order, or other protective measure to remove a person who violates this Policy from the campus community. 

E.  Retaliation Prohibited

This Policy prohibits retaliation against any individual who, in good faith, reports a violation of this Policy. All reports of violence will be handled in a confidential manner, with information released on a need-to-know basis. University managers and administrators shall be sensitive and responsive to fears from the reporting individual of reprisal.

Deliberately false or misleading claims of violence that appear to have been filed with the intention to harass or that appear to be frivolous or an abuse of the violence reporting process shall be considered instances of unacceptable personal conduct and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

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