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Violence in the Workplace Prevention Governmental Services Center Kentucky Employees Assistance Program © 2009 by GSC.

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Presentation on theme: "Violence in the Workplace Prevention Governmental Services Center Kentucky Employees Assistance Program © 2009 by GSC."— Presentation transcript:

1 Violence in the Workplace Prevention Governmental Services Center Kentucky Employees Assistance Program © 2009 by GSC

2 Table of Contents Overview Steps to Violence Warning Signs Warning Signs of Domestic Violence Safety Workplace Safety Plan Employee Liability Review Corrective Actions Legal Ramifications Policy Documentation

3 Violence Defined Webster's Dictionary defines violence as: Intense or severe force Severe or injurious treatment or action; An unfair exercise of power or force. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

4 Workplace Violence Overview Nearly 5% of the 7.1 million surveyed had an incident of domestic violence Each year, more than 2,000,000 people become victims of violent crime at work Ref: © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

5 Workplace Violence Overview Management alone cannot prevent workplace violence; it takes the efforts of everyone Violent employees do not just snap without warning; there are warning signs Ref: NIOSH © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

6 Workplace Violence Overview Workplace violence is #1 on the top 10 list of security threats Customers or clients committed 44% of workplace violence attacks Although the majority of domestic violence is perpetrated in the secrecy of home, offenders also talk, harass and harm their partners at work Ref: © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

7 Workplace Violence Overview Only 9% of state agencies maintain a written workplace violence policy Ref: The State of Kentucky has a Kentucky Administrative Regulation against violence in the workplace: 101 KAR Section #9 © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

8 Preventing Violence in the Workplace The most violent element in society is: IGNORANCE (Keys) to preventing violence in the workplace: Listen – Many times, the employees, will give warning signs Recognize – Angry and aggressive behavior Maintain – Respectful working environment Document – All incidents of out of the ordinary behavior. Defuse – Angry and aggressive behavior. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

9 Workplace Violence These new data are from the BLS Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities program and are from a special survey conducted BLS for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey covered private industry and State and local governments. For more information, see "Survey of Workplace Violence Prevention, 2005," news release USDL Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities Ref: © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

10 Workplace Violence Many instances of workplace violence go uncorrected because of a lack of follow through from the victim and coworkers that are aware of the violence but fail to report it. This type of behavior places us all in danger. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

11 Steps to Violence This and the next 2 slides reveal the "signs and symptoms" that many perpetrators go through before their behavior becomes life threatening. Look out for these signs and take the appropriate counter measures. Violent ActStalking, physical force, sabotage. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

12 Steps to Violence Internal ConflictExplosive, combative, withdrawal, compulsive behavior – Youll be sorry. Egocentric ThinkingIm ok youre not. Youre out to get me. Blames OthersConstant finger pointing, denial, nothing is ever their fault. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

13 Steps to Violence Traumatic Experience (Isolation, change in behavior, decreasing work performance.) We all experience this 1st step, but most of us move beyond this quickly. Why do some escalate to more dangerous behavior? Poor coping skills, lack of supportive environment, failure to recognize consequences or a distorted view of reality. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

14 Warning Signs The following are WARNING SIGNS that may indicate a potential violent employee. Decrease or inconsistency in productivity Excessively absent or tardy Excessive or inappropriate demand on supervisors time. Poor interactions with coworkers © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

15 Warning Signs Memory or concentration problems Deteriorating grooming habits Unsafe work habits/recklessness Need to blame others. Severe depression, withdrawal, avoidance, isolation Evidence of personal stress Erratic or emotional behavior © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

16 Warning Signs Fascination with weapons Paranoid or irrational beliefs Romantic obsession History of violence/abuse Not just one or two of the warning signs, but several over a period of time Chemical dependency © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

17 Warning Signs of Domestic Violence Domestic violence is a serious problem in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002: Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses. 84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

18 Warning Signs of Domestic Violence Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers 50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

19 Warning Signs of Domestic Violence In many instances these violent relationships spill over into the workplace. In any instance the potential of a violent relationship affecting the workplace is a possibility and we all should be aware of the warning signs of domestic violence. Furthermore, failure to report domestic violence is in violation of KRS which states:KRS © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

20 Warning Signs of Domestic Violence Any person, including but not limited to physician, law enforcement officer, nurse, social worker, cabinet personnel, coroner, medical examiner, alternate care facility employee, or caretaker, having reasonable cause to suspect that an adult has suffered abuse, neglect, or exploitation, shall report or cause reports to be made in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Death of the adult does not relieve one of the responsibility for reporting the circumstances surrounding the death. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

21 Warning Signs What are the warning signs of Domestic Violence? Is the employee bruised or injured? Is the employee uncharacteristically absent or late without explanation? © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

22 Warning Signs Is there a change in work performance? Is the employee uncharacteristically depressed, anxious or distracted? Is the employee refusing to take phone calls? © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

23 Warning Signs Is the employee receiving an increased volume of calls? Do the calls seem to upset the employee? Is the employee hesitant to go out for lunch? Has the employee had unexpected or disruptive visitors at work? Has the employee been the victim of threats or vandalism at work? © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

24 Safety Supervisors are often in a unique position to recognize indicators of domestic violence and sexual assault, but employers are not expected to provide thorough legal and advocacy information. Employees should be immediately referred to appropriate resources once domestic violence or sexual assault is disclosed. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

25 Safety If, based upon the employee's current situation, an employer or supervisor suspects abuse is occurring, the employee should be referred to the Kentucky Employee Assistance Program. Additionally, if the employee is being victimized by a spouse, the employee must be informed that state law requires all persons to report suspected spouse abuse to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

26 Safety Kentucky law requires that any person who suspects a spouse is being abused shall report allegations to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. KRS (2) Similarly, KRS requires the reporting of child abuse and neglect.KRS (2) KRS © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

27 Safety What if an employee denies the victimization, but there are clear indicators? Victims of domestic violence and rape have numerous and valid reasons for not disclosing the abuse and a victim knows best how much danger she or he is in and what would increase their risk. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

28 Safety The supervisor or manager must make every practicable attempt to respect the employee's wishes, while letting the employee know that many people experience domestic violence and sexual assault and help is available if it is needed at any time. Also, employers should encourage the employee to contact the Kentucky Employee Assistance Program, in Frankfort at (502) or use the toll-free number, KEAP, if the employee needs immediate help or just needs to talk to a neutral and supportive professional.Kentucky Employee Assistance Program © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

29 Safety What should I consider in determining the level of risk to the workplace? Has an intimate partner, not employed by the Commonwealth, threatened or attacked an employee? Has an employee of the Commonwealth threatened or attacked a fellow employee? © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

30 Safety How are these threats communicated? (Phone, , in person) Has an employee been stalked at work (i.e. the offender waited in the parking lot after work, called repeatedly to learn a daily routine, appeared at the employee's worksite, vandalized property at or near work)? Is the offender jealous or suspicious of other employees? © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

31 Safety Does the offender have a history of violent behavior? Does the offender have access to any weapons? Does the offender have a history of substance use or abuse? Does the offender have mental health problems? © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

32 Safety Have police reports been filed due to domestic violence or sexual assault? Is the offender currently a respondent to a civil protective order and does it apply to the workplace? Examples: Emergency Protective Order (EPO) Domestic Violence Order (DVO) © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

33 Workplace Safety Plan If an employee is victimized in the workplace, the development of a specific, detailed safety plan can significantly decrease the level of danger to the identified victim and enhance the overall safety of the workplace. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

34 Workplace Safety Plan The following recommendations for supervisory staff and employees can aid in the development of a systematic and standardized safety assessment. Implementation of a safety plan should be developed by the supervisor and the victimized employee: © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

35 Workplace Safety Plan Providing Safety for Victims Cultivate an environment of trust and acceptance that encourages employees to discuss victimization issues in order to tailor a plan that meets the unique needs of each employee. Relocate the employee's workstation. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

36 Workplace Safety Plan Change the employee's work schedule or phone number. Provide receptionists and security personnel with photographs and descriptions of alleged offenders, at the victim's request. If a crisis occurs, this information will be vital to potential law enforcement intervention. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

37 Workplace Safety Plan Discuss with the employee the possibility of a leave of absence, if threats escalate and become acute. Provide escort or observation for victims entering or leaving the workplace. Employers may also need to evaluate parking access and illumination. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

38 Workplace Safety Plan Allow the employee to use leave time in order to access resources such as court appearances, shelter or outreach services. Limit employee information that is disclosed by phone or . Any information given related to the location of an employee may increase the level of risk. Encourage victims to provide copies of any civil order of protection that includes provisions related to the workplace. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

39 KEAP – Warning Signs Visit the Governmental Services Centers Website Quick Resource Guides to view and print a copy of: KENTUCKY EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS Workplace Violence Indicators for Managers © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

40 Employer Liability Review As indicated below, it is the responsibility of the employer to provide a safe working environment for Employees. OSH Act of 1970 General Duty Clause Section 5 (a) "Each employer shall furnish to each of his (or her) employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause (them) death or serious physical harm." The best way to avoid liability under the Act would be to address workplace security and provide training concerning violent situations. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

41 Corrective Actions There are a number of available options to address workplace violence or conflict depending on the specific conditions and/or the severity of the behavior (s). Established agency procedures must be followed when taking disciplinary action. Supervisors face liability issues including negligent hiring, training, and retention. The ADA presents issues when threatening employees are perceived to or do have psychiatric disabilities. In responding to threats or acts of violence the agency is setting precedents for how it will act in the future. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

42 Corrective Actions Verbal reprimand/job counseling Puts employee on notice that behavior is unacceptable. This cannot be grieved and this is not appealable. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

43 Corrective Actions Memo of concern Puts employee on notice that behavior is unacceptable. Creates a paper trail showing agency is responding. No visible evidence to other parties within agency. Provides for KEAP referral. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

44 Corrective Actions Written reprimand Puts employee on notice that behavior is unacceptable. Creates document showing agency is responding. Is lowest level of correction and opens door for more action. No visible evidence to other parties within agency. Provides for KEAP referral. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

45 Corrective Actions Suspension Can range from 1 to 30 days. Removes employee from workplace. Sends a clear message that behavior is unacceptable. Observable to co-workers. Subject to open records disclosure. Provides for KEAP referral. Is appealable to Personnel Board. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

46 Corrective Actions Termination Removes employee from workplace. Demonstrates zero tolerance. Is observable by others in and out of agency. Is appealable to Personnel Board. Subject to open records © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

47 Corrective Actions Investigative Leave – "Special Leave" 101 KAR 2:102 (8) Removes employees from workplace. Provides time for agency to gather information and documentation. Provides for KEAP referral. Is paid leave therefore employee is unlikely to appeal. Is observable to co-workers. Subject to open records disclosure. Agency can completely reverse action if no misconduct is confirmed. Agency has 60 working days to act. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

48 Corrective Actions Agency Directed Sick Leave – 101 KAR 2:102 (2)101 KAR 2:102 (2) Removes employee from workplace for up to 1 year. Allows agency to obtain fitness for duty evaluation of employee. Provides for KEAP referral. Absence is observable to others in agency. Uses employees leave balance. Employee may go w/out pay. Raises ADA issues. May preclude discipline (contact Personnel Cabinet Attorney for guidance on case by case basis). Can be grieved and/or appealed Reference : 101 KAR 2: KAR 2:102 © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

49 Legal Ramifications Employers have been sued and held liable for acts of workplace violence that the courts deemed COULD and SHOULD HAVE BEEN prevented by the employer. However, the good news is if you, as a government employee, act within the course and scope of your employment, and; your actions are without malice or wanton disregard for the rights of the employee you fall under qualified immunity…meaning you can not be liable for monetary damage. Negligent Hiring -- An employer may be found liable for damages and injuries caused by an incident of workplace violence if the courts deem that the perpetrator was hired negligibly, i.e., without a sufficient background check, if that background check would have exposed the possibility of dangerous behavior. Connes vs. Molalla Transp. Sys., Inc., Colorado, 1992 © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

50 Legal Ramifications Negligent Training -- An employer may be found liable for damages and injuries caused by an incident of workplace violence if the courts deem that the perpetrator was not trained sufficiently to do his/her job safely, i.e., a police officer who shoots someone because he/she does not have sufficient training in the use of a firearm. County of Riverside vs. Loma Linda Univ., California, Negligent Supervision -- An employer may be found liable for damages and injuries caused by an incident of workplace violence if the courts deem that the employer could have stopped or prevented the incident if he/she had supervised the perpetrator more closely and known about the threats and other dangerous behaviors taking place. Degenhart vs. Knights of Columbus, South Carolina, © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

51 Legal Ramifications Negligent Retention -- An employer may be found liable for damages and injuries caused by an incident of workplace violence if the courts deem that the employer knew of the perpetrator's dangerous behaviors and was negligent in not terminating his/her employment. Yunker vs. Honeywell, Inc., Minnesota, The employer must take remedial action to separate a violent employee from other employees and customers. The employer will investigate any allegations of violence and determine the appropriate action taken. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

52 Policy Commonwealth of Kentucky's Policy on Workplace Violence A growing concern among workers in both the public and private sector is safety from violence while at work. In response to this concern it is important that every employee be aware that violence and threats of violence are unacceptable workplace behaviors. Violence in the workplace involves more than the use of weapons. It can include shoving, harassing, and hitting as well as other acts. If a threat of violence occurs in the workplace, from employees or from customers, the supervisor must be made aware of the threat. If an incident of violence occurs at work it is important to provide employees in that work setting with psychological care within hours by contacting either the Kentucky Employee Assistance Program at (502) or the Kentucky Community Crisis Response Board at (502) KAR 2:095 (9) © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

53 Documentation Know what to document. Make sure your organizational policies clearly spell out which incidents should be documented. Interview all witnesses. After the incident, question all eyewitnesses. Use direct, objective questions. Use these direct quotes in your report. Avoid delays. Write your report as soon as possible. The longer you delay, the more your memory will be clouded by the post-incident events. Be objective. Report only the facts and avoid hearsay and subjective opinions. Focus on who, what, where, when, and why. Organize chronologically. Put events in time sequence order. Begin with the events leading up to the incident, follow with the details of the incident itself and close with post-incident events. Tell the truth. Avoid the temptation to manufacture details or events. This will ultimately lead to inconsistencies later. © 2009 by GSC Table of Contents

54 Bibliography Bureau of Labor Statistics Fatal Occupational Injuries and Employment by Selected Worker Characteristics. U.S. Department of Labor Kentucky Personnel Cabinet Workplace Violence: Survey of Public Agency A4anagers. Miller, C., Cohen, M., and WiersemaB Victim Costs and Consequences: A New Look. National Institute of justice. National Victim Center Crime and Victimization Report. Stanley, C Domestic Violence: An Occupational Impact Study. Tulsa, OK. Tjaden, P. and Thoennes, N Stalking in America: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey. U.S. Department of justice. United States General Accounting Office Domestic Violence: Prevalence and Implications for Employment Among Welfare Respondents. USGAO Report to Congressional Committees. Table of Contents

55 Website Resources OSHA xt=workplace%20violence&p_title=&p_status=CURRENT xt=workplace%20violence&p_title=&p_status=CURRENT tI.html tI.html Kentucky Administrative Regulations (OSHA) Workplace Violence (CDC) Table of Contents

56 Thank you for choosing GSC! We hope this information is of service to you and your agency. We appreciate your participation in our offerings. Please let us know how we can serve you better. Our web site has a suggestions page: Wed love to hear from you! Governmental Services Center Personnel ASB 4 th Fl 400 E. Main St Frankfort, KY Serving the People Who Serve the People Table of Contents

57 Questions? If you have any questions or need assistance with workplace violence issues please contact Kentucky Employee Assistance Program (KEAP) at or


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