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Workplace Violence Safety Through Prevention Setting A Policy Open your eyes and you’ll see it, Open your ears and you’ll hear it! 10/08 David R. Thomas.

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Presentation on theme: "Workplace Violence Safety Through Prevention Setting A Policy Open your eyes and you’ll see it, Open your ears and you’ll hear it! 10/08 David R. Thomas."— Presentation transcript:

1 Workplace Violence Safety Through Prevention Setting A Policy Open your eyes and you’ll see it, Open your ears and you’ll hear it! 10/08 David R. Thomas M.S. Johns Hopkins University

2 Goal of Workplace Violence Training  Develop an understanding of domestic violence and its impact on the workplace  Develop policies in the workplace that address domestic violence  Develop a coordinated response to domestic violence in the workplace  Develop employees’ awareness and skill in recognizing, responding to, and supporting employees who are victims of domestic violence

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4 Definitions  Workplace violence is any; physical assault, threatening behavior, or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting  A work setting is any location either permanent or temporary where an employee performs any work related duty

5 Definition Cont’d  This includes, but is not limited to, the buildings, the campus, vehicles and any area under the supervision of the entity.

6 Workplace Violence Includes:  Beatings  Stabbings  Suicides  Shootings  Rapes  Near-suicides  Psychological traumas  Threats or obscene phone calls  Intimidation  Harassment of any nature  Being followed, sworn or shouted at

7 Types of Workplace Violence Violence by: - Strangers - Co-Workers - Personal Relations

8 Categories and Analyses of Threats  Threat from strangers  Threat from business associates  Threat from co-workers  Threat from domestic relations

9 Understanding The Problem Domestic Violence in MD  Domestic violence related crimes  Every 5 days  1 in 4 women Will it effect the workplace?

10 Understanding The Problem  26, 544 women  One-fourth, or 6,636 women  6000 state employees Will it effect the workplace?

11 Domestic Violence Overview  Clarifying what domestic violence is:  And what domestic violence is not: It is exerted through physical, psychological and/or economic means.

12 “Relationship” defined In the context of discussing domestic violence, intimate relationships are ones in which heterosexual or homosexual partners are involved and which have, or had, a sexual relationship or emotional relationship.

13 Relationship Abuse  A disagreement?  An anger management problem?  A relationship with “ups and downs?”  Pattern of violent behaviors  Utilized in intimate relationships  May result in injury and/or death  Includes verbal, sexual, and economic control over another person

14 Domestic Violence Who are the victims of domestic violence?  There is no typical victim  Approximately 3.3 million children a year witness violence against their mothers  In one study, 23.8% of shelter victims reported observing animal cruelty by their abusers

15 Do Women Abuse Men? Women do use violence in intimate relationships. They both initiate violence and use violence in self-defense. Women do controlling things in relationships and can be abusive to their partners.

16 Women’s Use Of Violence Yet, when we look at and study women’s violence in intimate relationships we find that women do not typically accompany their violence with intimidation, rape, and coercion, even in abusive relationships. Violence is not an effective tool for most women. While women use violence, they use it in very different ways.

17 Profile of Domestic Violence Victims Domestic violence crosses ethnic, racial, age, national origin, religious and socioeconomic lines.  Approx. 4 million American women experience a serious assault by an intimate during an average 12 month period  25-50% of all marriages experience violence in the relationship

18 Profile of Domestic Violence Victims  65% of intimate homicide victims physically separated from their abuser  25-50% of pregnant women are battered  Up to 50% of all homeless women and children are fleeing domestic violence  An average of 28% of high school and college students experience dating violence  27% of domestic violence victims are children

19 Effects of Domestic Violence on Children Patterns of violent behavior are passed from one generation to the next. Approximately 30% of boys who witness violence in the home grow up to abuse. Sons witnessing their fathers’ violence have a 1,000% higher rate of wife abuse. The majority of abused women who use shelter services bring their children. 72% brought children with them with 21% accompanied by three or more kids

20 Understanding Domestic Violence THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE Tension Building Phase Serious Battering Phase Honeymoon Phase

21 Domestic Abuse Intervention Project

22 WHY DO VICTIMS STAY?  Threats  Fear  Stalking Victim  Retaliation  No Place To Go/Hide  Economic Dependency  Lack Of Resources  Lack of Support  Love  Children  Religion  Preservation Of Family  Hope  Denial  Shame  Guilt  No Relationship Role Models

23 “In an abnormal situation, it is normal to respond in abnormal ways!” Victor Frankl Concentration Camp Survivor Remember

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25 VICTIMS  The weight of multiple harms  Cumulative effect  Leaving is a process not an event  Their safety is at greatest risk when they try to leave or “participate” in criminal justice process  They leave in greater numbers than “unhappy spouses”  They don’t pick batterers.. batterers pick them!

26 Abuse And The Excuse  Mental illness  Loss of control  Anger problem  Alcohol/substance abuse

27 Why Abuse? The claim: Anger is the problem The fact: 5 to 7% of batterers cannot control their anger The claim: I just lost control The fact: 5 to 10% have poor impulse control

28 Perpetrators Believe:  Entitled to control their partner  Partner is obligated to obey them  They get what they want through violence  They are moral people even if they use violence  Will not suffer significant adverse physical, legal, economic or personal consequences

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30 Myths or Facts About Domestic Violence?  Domestic violence effects only a small proportion of the population  Battering is only a momentary loss of control  Victims of domestic violence like to be beaten  Victims of domestic violence have psychological disorders

31 Myths or Facts  Low self-esteem causes victims to be involved in abusive relationships  Victims of domestic violence never leave their abusers, or if they do, they just get involved in other abusive relationships  Perpetrators abuse their partners or spouses because of alcohol or drug abuse  Perpetrators of DV abuse their partners because they are under a lot of stress

32 Myths or Facts  Law enforcement and judicial responses, such as arresting perpetrators or issuing civil protective orders, are useless  Children are not effected when one parent abuses the other  Domestic violence is irrelevant to parental fitness

33 Why a workplace issue? If a domestic violence victim leaves their abuser, where do you think the abuser would have more difficulty locating them, at a new residence or at work?

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35 National Benchmark Survey 2005 The Impact of DV on the American Workplace  “ Very important issues” ranking  “Very aware”  Experienced impact of DV on the workplace.  Identified self as victims  Socio-economic status Domestic Violence Report, Vol. 11, No. 4, April/May 2006

36 Is Workplace Violence Really a Problem? Look at the facts:  Domestic Violence cost big business $5-8 Billion annually  74% of employed battered women are harassed at work  56% are late at least five times per month  28% leave early at least five times per month

37 Economic Impact of Workplace Violence Cost  500,000 employees 1,175,100 lose work days each year  Lost wages: $55 million annually  Lost productivity, legal expenses, property damage, diminished public image, increased security: $BILLIONS $

38 Domestic Violence & The Workplace  54% miss at least three full days of work a month  24-30% of domestic violence victims lost their jobs  Workplace violence has tripled in the last decade  Among workplace violence victims who took some type of protective action more that 80% believed it helped the situation

39 Statistics on Workplace Violence  Homicide is the second leading cause of death in the workplace  In 1997, there were 856 homicides in America’s workplaces  Assaults and threats of violence number almost 2 million a year

40 Statistics  Most common form of violence was simple assaults: 1.5 million a year  Aggravated assaults: 396,000  Rapes and sexual assaults: 51,000  Robberies: 84,000  Homicides: nearly 1,000

41 Assaults and Homicides

42 National Benchmark Survey  64% “Significantly Impacted”  26% “Somewhat Impacted” How?  Distracted  Fear of Discovery  work by intimate  Lateness  Fear of unexpected visits by intimate  Inability to complete assignments  Job loss & Problems with boss

43 National Benchmark Survey Impact on Co-Workers  27% - Extremely to somewhat frequently had to do victim’s work  31% - Strongly to somewhat obliged to cover for the victim  25% - Resented co-worker due to the effect of the situation on the workplace  38% - extremely to somewhat concerned for their personal safety

44 Victims Work Experience  25% written up/fired  61% employers unaware  85% abuse affected job  85% utilized health care system  25% stalked at work  7% never returned to work (Survey Report by Violence Free Families committee on Workplace Violence, August, 2002, Springfield Missouri)

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46 Predictability Violence doesn’t usually just happen, like the weather, it’s predictable. 80% of workplace violence is domestic violence related.

47 Predictability Corporate America  “Violence can’t happen here”  Employee Pool  Society

48 Predictability  Sexual harassment training  Senior executives were included.  Domestic/workplace violence education. This must be committed to by workplace executives; for if they are committed, change will occur.

49 Predictability Two documents a perpetrator will walk around with before an incident are the Grievance Procedure Manual and the Corporate Personnel Manual. These individuals will read these documents and take them literally. They will know it as well as anyone. These are red flags.

50 Predictability Many times it is Management v. Union, perpetrators use the union to protect them.

51 Polaroid  63 years  Close Knit Community  Disgruntled Worker  Multiple Injuries  History of domestic violence  Numerous run-ins with management

52 Polaroid  Employee Fired  Questions Addressed: 1. Has Polaroid ever responded this way to workplace violence? 2. Has an employee of Polaroid ever been fired for workplace violence? 3. Has the company ever documented any incidents of workplace violence? 4. Were there ever any incidents of workplace violence by this employee? 5. Were these incidents documented?

53 Polaroid How do you think the court ruled? What did Polaroid learn? What changes did they make?

54 National Benchmark Survey Employer Readiness  31% - no programs, support of help  23% - given access to counseling and assistance  18% - provided information and referral to DV programs  18% - provided flexible leave and other benefits  12% - assisted in contacting authorities  12% - provided security

55 How Do You Prepare? Three things that you should look at are 1. The personnel manual 2. The grievance procedure 3. The company news letter/paper They will tell you about the company culture, about what’s happening, what’s expected, and how far employees may go.

56 Preparation Check to see:  How many policies deal with workplace violence?  How responsive is the company to acts of violence?  Does the company allow you to fire someone on the spot for assault?

57 Preparation  Take away options and choices It is their goal to control options and choices.  Isolation of management The same thing that a perpetrator does at home, he does at work.

58 Preparation As anger goes up the ability to think declines. The companies grievance procedure tells the perpetrator who to deal with.

59 Preparation It is very important to remember that violence does not just happen. Individuals perpetuating workplace violence want validation not help!

60 Management's Role Part of management's role is to create a safe work environment. This duty is dictated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Respondeat Superior dictates that principals (employers) are liable for the actions of their agents (employees).

61 Management’s Role To put it simply: “If the employer knows -- or should have known -- of information indicating that a person is a risk for committing violence, the employer is responsible for any violent acts that that person commits.” What does that mean to employers?

62 Liability Respondeat Superior Liability  Vicarious liability  Acts unconnected to job duties Direct Employee Negligence  Negligent hiring or retention 1. Did the employer know (or should have known) of propensity for violence 2. Acts need not to have been done within scope of employment

63 Liability  Failure to act after proper notice  Failure to warn an identifiable victim Premise Liability  General duty  Reasonable steps

64 Key Legal Issues  The Effect of Worker’s Compensation  The Effect of the Americans with Disabilities Act and State Disability Discrimination Laws  Relationship to Privacy Laws  Remedies Available Where an Employee is Assaulted  Court Cases

65 Liability What are the most recent results of actions filed against employers who fail to meet this standard? Jury Verdicts on average: Cases resulting in death $2.2 million Cases involving rape/sexual assault $1.8 m Cases involving assault $1.2 million

66 OSHA Guidelines

67  Not a new standard or regulation  Advisory in nature and informational in content  Intended for use by employers who are seeking to provide a safe and healthful workplace through effective workplace violence programs

68 OSHA Guidelines Based on OSHA’s Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines published in 1989

69 OSHA GENERAL DUTY CLAUSE: SECTION 5(a)(1) Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm. This includes the prevention and control of the hazard of workplace violence

70 OSHA General Duty Clause (cont’d) OSHA will rely on Section 5 (a)(1) of the OSH Act for enforcement authority

71 Management’s Role As a manager/supervisor it is incumbent upon you to first educate yourself on domestic violence. If you don’t have the answers, at least know where to direct someone to get the right answers. When someone approaches you in crisis they need help right then; 24 hours later may be too late.

72 Management’s Role Prepare yourself by:  Knowing about resources in the community  Keep up-to-date materials on hand and around the work environment  Let employees know you are available to talk about DV concerns

73 Management’s Role Creating the safe work environment:  Make management’s stand on DV clear  Display educational materials throughout the office Informational materials include but are not limited to:  Pamphlets, Anti DV Posters  Educational materials left discretely in restrooms and lounges  Educational department wide s

74 Management’s Role In short, management must make it clear to both victim’s and perpetrator’s that you will respond to DV in non- judgmental ways.

75 Management’s Role At what point should a manager/supervisor become involved without over stepping his/her bounds? The bottom line is: If it effects the workplace, a manager/supervisor needs to address it.

76 Workplace Violence Prevention Program Elements  Management Commitment and Employee Involvement  Training and Education  Recordkeeping and Evaluation of Program

77 Management Commitment and Employee Involvement  Complementary and essential  Management commitment provides the motivating force to deal effectively with workplace violence  Employee involvement and feedback- enable workers to develop and express their commitment to safety and health

78 Management Commitment  System of accountability for involved managers, and employees  Create and disseminate a clear policy of zero tolerance for workplace violence  Encourage employees to promptly report incidents and suggest ways to reduce or eliminate risk  Ensure no reprisals are taken against employees who report incidents

79 Management Commitment (cont’d)  Outline a comprehensive plan for maintaining security in the workplace  Assign responsibility and authority for program to individuals with appropriate training and skills  Affirm management commitment to worker supportive environment  Set up company briefings as part of the initial effort to address safety issues

80 Talking to an Employee Who is in a Domestic Violence Situation You may not know what to say….. You may feel that you don’t know the employee well enough….. You may have even previously approached the individual and received a denial…..

81 Talking to an Employee Who is in a Domestic Violence Situation These are legitimate concerns. Most victims deeply appreciate support from their supervisors, even if they don’t say so. Hearing your concern may make it easier for her/him to escape the abuse.

82 Talking to an Employee Who is in a Domestic Violence Situation Victim’s may not disclose at your first approach. They may be too afraid or to embarrassed. However, your concern sends a message that you are available to help when ready.

83 Talking to an Employee in a Domestic Violence Situation Upon disclosure you should communicate five important messages to the employee:  You are concerned for her/him and will support them  You will make every effort to keep the information confidential  You will assist in obtaining the appropriate resources

84 Talking to an Employee in a Domestic Violence Situation  You are available to work with your employee to increase his/her safety while at work and to help balance work and personal needs  The employee will not be disciplined or penalized in the workplace solely for being a victim of domestic violence

85 Signs an Employee is Being Abused  Repeated physical injuries  Isolation  Emotional distress  Despondence or Depression  Distraction  Personal phone calls  Absenteeism

86 Signs of abuse  Makeup  Clothing  Court Appearances  Change of address  Non-participation

87 Assessing the Situation: Possible Pre-Indicator Red Flags  Status of relationship  Order of protection  Arrest  Alcohol/Drug  Victim’s fear  Weapons  Suicide/Homicide

88 Red Flags  Children  Symbolic violence  Threats  Strangulation  Access  Past physical violence  Past relationship history  Abuser’s personal situation

89 Employee Involvement  Understand and comply with the workplace violence prevention program and other safety and security measures  Participate in employee complaints or suggestion procedures covering safety and security concerns  Prompt and accurate reporting of violent incidents

90 Supervising a Victim of Domestic Violence Methods of Employer Assistance  Temporary changes in employee’s work schedule or workstation  Creative use of applicable leave policies  Screen employees calls/ s or change their number/address  Security escorts to and from building

91 Supervising a Victim of Domestic Violence  Ask the employee how they think you can help them be safe at work  Refer the employee to the local DV provider  If a protection order exist encourage employee to give you a copy

92 Supervising a Victim of Domestic Violence  Encourage employee to let you know in advance if she/he can’t meet a deadline or can’t handle a specific job function  If your workplace has an employee assistance program, encourage the employee to get into contact with them

93 Supervising a Perpetrator of Domestic Violence  Self disclosure  Joking, harassing phone calls/faxes or s; threatening physical violence

94 Analysis of Worksite Violence Indicators  ANY COMBINATION OF THESE INDICATORS MAY BE CAUSE FOR REPORTING TO DESIGNATED AUTHORITIES FOR FURTHER ACTION: 1) Past history of violent or threatening behavior 2) Co-worker’s reasonable fear of an employee 3) Statements of personal stress or desperation 4) Evidence of chemical dependency 5) An obsession with weapons/inappropriate statements of weapons 6) Observed or perceived threatening behavior 7) Routine violations of department policy or rules 8) Sexual and other harassment of co-workers

95 9) Destructive behavior 10) Obsessed with retaliating against workplace for discipline 11) Showing little involvement with co-workers; a “loner” 12) Resistance or over-reaction to changes in agency policies 13) Significant changes in behavior or beliefs 14) Deteriorating physical appearance 15) Statements of excessive interest in publicized violent acts 16) Exhibiting behavior that may be described or perceived as “paranoid”

96 Supervising a Perpetrator of Domestic Violence Things to consider:  Document any threats and/or violence in the workplace. If necessary contact the police and keep your supervisor apprised of the situation  If the employee is utilizing work time or resources, such as workplace phones, facsimile machines or to harass threaten or intimidate another person, the employee should be subject to disciplinary actions

97 Supervising a Perpetrator of Domestic Violence  If situation at home is affecting his/her work performance, make an appointment to meet with the employee and discuss the problem (without being accusatory)  Before meeting with the employee, consider whether you feel the employee could become hostile or violent when criticized for poor work performance. You may want to have another supervisor present for the meeting

98 Supervising a Perpetrator of Domestic Violence  You may want to also consider including security personnel and/or the police if the situation appears to be explosive  If abuse is disclosed let them know that you are concerned but that you can’t condone the violence/behavior.  Encourage them to contact the local DV provider for help

99 Guidelines for Discussing Performance  Clearly identify the performance problems observed  Tell the employee you understand that sometimes “personal issues” can interfere with good performance  Where clear signs of abuse exist, gently encourage the employee to discuss the problem  Suggest ways to improve performance in writing complete with suspense date’s

100 Administrative and Work Practice Controls  State clearly to clients/employees/others; violence will not be tolerated or permitted  Establish liaison with local police and state prosecutors  Require employees to report all assaults and threats  Set up trained response teams to respond to emergencies

101 Security Responses/Options  Quick identification and reporting  Clear instructions  Lock doors  Check-in  Isolate public access areas  Security guards  Safe room  Electronic access control

102 Security Responses  Local law enforcement  Protocols  Alert law enforcement  Information flow  Pre-arranged code  Coordinated response plan

103 Post-Incident Response Provide comprehensive treatment for victimized employees and employees who may be traumatized by witnessing a workplace violence incident

104 Post-Incident Response  Trauma-crisis counseling  Critical incident stress debriefing  Employee assistance programs to assist victims

105 Training and Education  Ensure that all staff are aware of potential security hazards and ways of protecting themselves Workplace Violence Program

106 Training and Education Training program should involve all employees, including supervisors and managers

107 Training and Education  Workplace violence prevention policy  Risk factors that cause or contribute to assaults  Early recognition of escalating behavior or warning signs  Ways to prevent volatile situations  Standard response action plan for violent situations  Location and operation of safety devices

108 Setting up Your Policy Questions to be Addressed 1. Appropriate questioning 2. Unwillingness to consent 3. Roles must be defined 4. Coordinator 5. Confronting the accused 6. What disciplinary action should be taken 7. Retaliation 8. Non-punitive supervision

109 Setting up Your Policy 9. Notification 10. Defamation 11. Commitment 12. Invasion of privacy 13. Consultations 14. Increased security 15. Security 16. Employment decisions

110 Setting up Your Policy 17. Guidelines 18. Documentation 19. Making Contacts

111 Recordkeeping and Evaluation  Recordkeeping and evaluation of the violence prevention program are necessary to o determine overall effectiveness and Identify deficiencies or changes that should be made

112 Recordkeeping  OSHA Log of Injury and Illness (OSHA 200)  Medical reports of work injuries assaults  Incidents of abuse, verbal attacks, or aggressive behavior  Information on employees with history of violence  Minutes of safety meetings, records of hazard analyses, and corrective actions  Records of all training programs

113 Evaluation  Establish uniform violence reporting system and regular review of reports  Review reports of minutes from staff meetings on safety issues  Analyze trends and rates in illness/injury or fatalities caused by violence  Measure improvement based on lowering frequency and severity of workplace violence

114 Sources of Assistance  OSHA Consultation Program  OSHA Internet Site  NIOSH  Public Safety Officials  Trade Associations  Unions and Insurers  Human Resource and Employee Assistance Professionals

115 David R. Thomas


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