Unfortunately, it seems that incidents of workplace violence are becoming more and more common these days. While a company can never fully protect itself from such incidents, having a comprehensive workplace violence plan in place, and disseminating it to employees, may help prevent many such incidents.
While such a plan should be carefully tailored to your company’s needs, there are three things that should always be in any such plan.
First, each such plan should have a policy statement. This statement should define what constitutes workplace violence, and what the company will do to with reports of workplace violence.
A policy statement notifies employees which specific behaviors will not be tolerated, and that threats or harassment of any type are forbidden. As in an anti-discrimination/anti-harassment policy, it also provides a guide for reporting such incidents, threats, harassment and/or other improper behavior to management and/or human resources.
Workplace violence plans should also contain a response plan. This will set forth what will occur after a report of a potential violation of the company’s workplace violence policy has been reported. Such a plan will clearly state how the company will handle such reports, through such things as an investigation, discussions, meetings, training and potential discipline.
It is important that once such a response plan has been established, the company follows it. This will ensure confidence in the plan by employees, will best ensure that such incident(s) are resolved, and may protect the company from future litigation and/or exposure to liability.
Finally, a workplace violence plan should contain a training program. This should train employees, including and especially members of management, spotting and reacting to potential incidences of workplace violence.