Workplace Violence

Departmental Responsibility: Office of Human Resources
Topic: Workplace Violence
Policy: Workplace Violence
Effective: October 15, 2001
Last Revised Date: December 05, 2014

Workplace Violence

Goal:
Promotion of a safe environment for all employees, students and constituents.

Eligibility:
Pertains to all employees, students and constituents.

Process:
This procedure applies to all acts or threatened acts of workplace violence on property owned or leased by or under the control of Clemson University or at Clemson University sponsored events, wherever located.

Purpose and Scope:
It is the goal of Clemson University to promote a safe, respectful and productive work environment in which to deliver quality academic programs, public service activities, research and administrative services.  To this end, the university will not tolerate, condone or ignore workplace violence.

Each department head, manager, supervisor and employee is responsible for keeping the workplace free of violence.  This includes intimidating, hostile, threatening, or violent behavior by employees or non-employees (vendors, job applicants, visitors, spouses, etc.) against self, others, university property, or property owned by third parties but present on university premises.

Existing Related Law and Policy:
Discrimination:  Federal and state law as well as university policy prohibits unlawful discrimination.  Those who believe they are victims or have observed such discrimination should contact the University Office of Access and Equity at (864) 656-3181.

Firearms:  The South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 16-23-420. (A) states:  It is unlawful for a person to possess a firearm of any kind on any premises or property owned, operated, or controlled by a private or public school, college, university, technical college, other post-secondary institution, or in any publicly-owned building, without the express permission of the authorities in charge of the premises or property.  The provisions of this subsection related to any premises or property owned, operated, or controlled by a private or public school, college, university, technical college, or other post-secondary institution, do not apply to a person who is authorized to carry a concealed weapon (SC Code of Laws Title 23, Chapter 31, Article 4) when the weapon remains inside an attended or locked motor vehicle and is secured in a closed glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk, or in a closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the luggage compartment of the vehicle.

Persons whose conduct violates state law will be prosecuted in the appropriate criminal court.

Procedure For Reporting and Investigating Workplace Violence:
Any person, who experiences, observes or has knowledge of actual or threatened workplace violence has the responsibility to report the situation immediately.

  • In the case of an actual or imminent act or threat of violent behavior, call the Clemson University Police Department at 911 or 864-656-2222. The appropriate numbers for reporting at satellite or off-campus facilities should be posted at that facility.
  • All other reports should be made to Employee Relations (864-656-2000) in the Office of Human Resources.

All reports of workplace violence will be investigated promptly, impartially, and as confidentially as possible.  Employees are required to cooperate in any investigation.  A timely resolution of each report should be reached and communicated to all parties involved as soon as possible. Any form of retaliation against employees for making a bona fide report concerning workplace violence is prohibited.

Reporting Responsibilities of Supervisors:
Supervisors are critical to the prevention of employee violence in the workplace.  By recognizing early signs and intervening prudently and appropriately, supervisors can reduce the chances of violent behavior.  When left unchecked, inappropriate behaviors can escalate to higher levels. Behavior warning signs which, in some combination, may indicate a potential for violence, could include but are not limited to:

  • paranoia (e.g. "others are out to get me or get my job");
  • frequent angry outbursts,
  • difficulty controlling temper;
  • recent isolation of self from co-workers,
  • seems to turn a cold shoulder;
  • rash or impulsive behavior without apparent forethought;
  • failure to accept criticism or blames others when things go wrong;
  • drug/alcohol use or abuse;
  • obsession about possessing or collecting weapons, or "getting" someone;
  • co-workers fear or have concerns about this person’s behavior;
  • and/or bragging about past acts of violence.

Supervisors who observe such behaviors in an employee, particularly when the changes represent recent and sudden behavioral changes, should consult with his or her manager to determine whether other University resources are required in dealing with the situation.  Any doubts should be resolved in favor of consulting Employee Relations in the Office of Human Resources.  Employee Relations can assist with this determination and can provide counseling through the Employee Assistance Program, if needed.

Non-Disciplinary and Disciplinary Action:

  1. When a report of workplace violence has been made to the Office of Human Resources, it will be reviewed to determine first whether a violation of this policy has occurred and if so, the appropriate action to be taken.
  2. Actions that may be taken for violations of this policy include, but are not limited to: mandatory participation in counseling; application of appropriate sanctions under the Discipline Policy; prosecution in the appropriate criminal court; and/or special procedures such as job relocation, trespass notice, or application for a court order.
  3. If, upon investigation, it is determined that a report was intentionally falsified or made maliciously, the employee who provided the false information may be subjected to appropriate disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution.
  4. Any employee who believes that he or she is a victim of violent conduct, whether workplace or non-work-related, may contact Employee Relations in the Office of Human Resources to obtain advice in dealing with the situation.

Responsibilities of Members of the University Community:

Employees:  Employees should report workplace violence, as defined above, regardless of the relationship of the employee to the person believed to have engaged in workplace violence, to their supervisor. Recurring or persistent workplace violence that an employee reasonably believes is not being addressed satisfactorily, or violence that is, or has been, perpetrated by the employee’s supervisor should be reported Employee Relations (864-656-2000) in the Office of Human Resources.

Employees who have obtained restraining orders or other judicial orders involving inappropriate contacts are required to provide a copy of such order to the Clemson University Police Department.

A victim of domestic violence who believes the violence may extend into the workplace, or employees who believe they may be subjected to violence extending into the workplace, are encouraged to notify the Clemson University Police Department.

Supervisors:  All university supervisors and administrators, including department chairs, deans, directors and managers, are required to respond to a notification of a violation of this policy in a timely manner, taking the actions as required herein.  Further, supervisors are required to report the suspected violation to the appropriate designated university representative.

Supervisors are required to contact the Clemson University Police Department in the event of imminent or actual violence.

Supervisors are expected to inform the next higher supervisor promptly about any acts or threats of violence even if the situation has been addressed and resolved.

Students: Students who witness violence or learn of threats of violence as defined in this policy should report the incident directly to the Clemson University Police Department. If there is no imminent danger, students should report threatening incidents, as defined in this policy, to the Dean of Students (864-656-0935) or to the Director of the Office of Community and Ethical Standards (864-656-0510).  Students may refer to the Student Handbook for additional information.

Confidentiality:
The University shall maintain the confidentiality of investigations to the extent possible within the requirements of conducting reasonable investigations while ensuring the safety of members of the university community.  The university will act on the basis of anonymous complaints where it has a reasonable basis to believe that there has been a violation of this Policy and that the safety and well-being of members of the university community would be served by such an action.

Retaliation:
Retaliatory action against anyone acting in good faith who has made a complaint of workplace violence, who has reported witnessing workplace violence, or who has been involved in the reporting of, investigation or responding to a workplace violence is a violation of this Policy.  It is also a violation of this Policy to take adverse action against an employee solely on account of his/her being an actual or potential victim of workplace violence.  Anyone who believes they have been retaliated against needs to report the retaliatory act to Employee Relations (864-656-2000) in the Office of Human Resources.

Education:
Training is available through Employee Relations in the Office of Human Resources to inform employees of the University's Workplace Violence Policy and to raise awareness about workplace violence.  For materials concerning training or implementation of this program, contact Employee Relations (864-656-2000).

Questions regarding the policy should be addressed to the Office of Human Resources, Director of Employee Relations (864-656-2000).



Related Documents:
State OHR Workplace Violence Policy



THE LANGUAGE USED IN THIS DOCUMENT DOES NOT CREATE AN EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT BETWEEN THE EMPLOYEE AND THE AGENCY. THE DOCUMENT DOES NOT CREATE ANY CONTRACTUAL RIGHTS OR ENTITLEMENTS. THE AGENCY RESERVES THE RIGHT TO REVISE THE CONTENT OF THIS DOCUMENT, IN WHOLE OR IN PART. NO PROMISES OR ASSURANCES, WHETHER WRITTEN OR ORAL, WHICH ARE CONTRARY OR INCONSISTENT WITH THE TERMS OF THIS PARAGRAPH CREATE ANY CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT.

Contact HR

Clemson University 
Office of Human Resources

108 Perimeter Rd,
Clemson, SC 29634
ATTN: Employee Records

Phone: 864.656.2000
Fax: 864.656.4672
Email: ContactHRSC@clemson.edu

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