WORKPLACE VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAM
||Texas A&M University-Texarkana is committed to providing a safe working and learning environment for all members of the University community. While workplace violence is not something new in our society, it was brought to the forefront of national attention due to extreme acts of violence at public buildings and schools. This program was developed to reduce the risk of workplace violence on our campus and to become better equipped to handle violent situations should they occur.
Go to top of page
||TAMU-T can best perform its mission of teaching, research and public service when faculty, staff and students all co-exist in a climate that supports the free exchange of ideas and utilizes constructive methods of conflict resolution. The University is committed to creating and maintaining an environment that is free from intimidation, threats and violent acts. Any and all acts of intimidation, threats or acts of violence will be considered serious misconduct and will be the basis of disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. These acts will be referred, when appropriate, to legal authorities. Assurance of a safe working environment is important for everyone. It is the responsibility of everyone at TAMU-T to report any occurrence of intimidation, threat or violence to the appropriate supervisor. Threats, intimidation and acts of violence will not be ignored, condoned or tolerated. The University defines these behaviors as follows:
- Intimidation - an act towards another person, the purpose of which is to coerce, and the result of which could reasonably cause another person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others
- Threat of violence - a communicated intent to inflict physical or other harm on any person or on property
- Act of violence - exercise of physical force against another person or against property
Go to top of page
||This program will describe processes to be followed in responding to acts of intimidation, threats of violence or actual violence at TAMU-T. In order to effectively deal with any of these acts, TAMU-T will utilize the existing Crisis Management Team (CMT). This team is composed of representatives from departments who have the delegated authority to deal with these acts. In the event of any of these acts, the CMT will convene as quickly as possible to provide direction in response to these acts.
The Crisis Management Team is composed of the following persons or their designated representatives:
The CMT will have the following responsibilities:
- Vice President for Academic Affairs
- Vice President for Finance and Administration
- Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services
- Director of Physical Plant
- Risk Management/Security Officer
- Human Resources Manager
- Public Information Officer
- Meet and evaluate all reports of intimidation, threats or acts of violence
- Determine whether local Police Department should be involved
- Develop a plan of action
- Assist the victim(s) of workplace violence in obtaining needed services such as; adequate protection, restraining orders, counseling
- Provide training in workplace violence prevention to all staff and faculty
- Review each incident of workplace violence to determine future needs
- Provide a report to the President of TAMU-T on each incident of violence
Go to top of page
||SOURCES OF VIOLENCE
||Violence on the TAMU-T campus could come from any of the below listed four sources. Employees should be aware of the possibility that violence can occur on our campus and employees should plan a response to it before it happens.
The risk of violence committed by a stranger at TAMU-T is a moderate risk. This would include an emotionally disturbed person or someone coming on campus to commit a crime, such as robbery, burglary or sexual assault. Crime awareness has a lot to do with crime prevention. All employees need to be aware that crime can occur anywhere and we should always be as prepared as possible. Employees who deal with money should never count it in view of the public. Simple things, such as locking up valuables in offices and the trunk of your car, not working late at night by yourself, being aware of your surroundings at all times and planning an escape route from your area should the need ever arise, can make great strides towards keeping you from being the victim of a crime.
Violence by students used to be a very rare thing, but that is not the case anymore. Violence committed by youth is beginning at a much younger age and has become much more deadly. Employees must always be aware that student violence can occur on our campus. Students can be upset with grades, denial of expected benefits, or other services to which they think they are entitled. Acts of abuse by a student, whether physical or mental, against any member of the University community will not be tolerated. Minor incidents of improper student conduct should be reported to the Vice President of Student and Academic Services. Student acts of abuse will subject the student to possible disciplinary action such as probation, suspension or expulsion. More serious acts of aggression, such as threats or disorderly conduct, shall also be reported to the Risk Management/Security Office and the Texarkana Texas Police Department for possible criminal prosecution.
Disputes can often arise between co-workers causing friction in the work place. When minor friction occurs between two employees, their supervisor should step in quickly and try to defuse the situation before it escalates. An employee could also have a conflict with a supervisor. Dealing with any of these situations as soon as possible helps to prevent the situation from escalating into violence. All employees should have a good understanding of the workplace violence prevention program and the fact that all employees will be treated equally and fairly. All employees should be aware that acts of aggression could result in disciplinary action and/or termination, depending on the circumstances. All employees will be trained in conflict and dispute resolution, which should help everyone in day-to-day dealings with fellow employees as well as students and visitors.
- Personal Relationships
The risk of violence from personal relationships is very real. This could include husbands or wives, (divorced, separated or still together) boyfriends or girlfriends, especially if they have broken up, and any other relative or close friend. Employees who have been victims of domestic violence away from work (especially if the victim has left the suspect) should alert their supervisor that there is a possibility the violence could follow them to the workplace. The supervisor should alert the Risk Management Officer as to the situation. The CMT shall be notified to discuss future appropriate actions, such as adequate security, banning the suspect from the University, assisting the employee in such things as obtaining a restraining order and counseling. Employees who are victims of violence, either at work or at home, shall not be discriminated against in any way by TAMU-T.
Go to top of page
||AGGRESSION AND THREATS OF VIOLENCE
||Physical acts of aggressive behavior by anyone on the TAMU-T campus should not be overlooked as a personality trait or "someone having a bad day". Any act of physical aggression, no matter how minor, should be reported to the Risk Management/Security Officer and the Texarkana Texas Police Department if necessary.
Once an incident is over with, the CMT shall respond quickly and appropriately to the medical and psychological needs of all employees affected by a workplace violence incident. The CMT should then review the incident, collecting facts as to how and why the incident happened. This effort should be geared towards preventing recurrence of the situation and not faultfinding. The CMT can then recommend corrective action; considering changes in controls, procedures or policy.
- Immediate acts or threats: A University employee, student, or visitor experiencing or aware of a threat or act of violence should contact the Risk Management/Security Officer by calling 3114. After 5:00pm and on weekends, emergency assistance can be obtained by calling the University Receptionist at 3000. The University Receptionist will contact the night security guard, Texarkana College Police and/or the Texarkana Texas Police Department, depending on the nature and seriousness of the incident. The CMT shall meet to decide a course of action.
- Less immediate threats: When any employee is aware of a situation in which a threat of violence may exist, they should immediately notify their supervisor. The supervisor shall then notify the Risk Management/Security Officer. The Risk Management/Security Officer shall determine whether immediate action is required. If the threat has been made and the suspect is gone, the Risk Management Officer shall take an initial report of the incident and shall call a meeting of the CMT as soon as possible to determine what, if any, further action is necessary.
- Crisis Management Team: Once a member of the CMT is informed of a threatening situation, a meeting of the full team shall be called. The team shall analyze each case and develop a plan of action to address the situation. Types of potentially violent situations the team may address might include: threats of violence between employees, concerns over disciplinary action involving the potential for violence, student aggression towards faculty or staff and threats of domestic violence brought onto the campus. The CMT will decide:
- The level of seriousness of the threat
- Determine the appropriate action/response to the threat
- The level of security required
- If there is a need to involve the local Police Department
- If a recommendation should be made for the employee(s) to receive counseling
Go to top of page
||In keeping with this policy, Texas A&M University-Texarkana prohibits any employee from engaging in any act either on University property or during the performance of work-related duties elsewhere that threatens the safety of any person, affects the health, life or well being of any person, or results in damage to property owned by the university or any person.
Such acts include, but are not limited to:
- Threatening, intimidating, coercing, harassing, or assaulting any person
- Sexually harassing any person
- Carrying concealed weapons on University property
- Using, duplicating, or possessing keys to buildings or offices within a building that you are not authorized to have
- Stealing, or attempting to steal, property of the University or any other person
- Damaging, or attempting to damage, property owned by the University or any other person
Go to top of page
||One of the best ways of reducing the risk of violence in any workplace is reporting what we see and hear in a prompt manner. In almost all of the tragic high school shootings in the U.S. over the last few years, the suspect(s) talked to other people about what they were going to do before the incident happened and either no one believed them or they failed to tell anyone in authority about the threat.
All TAMU-T employees are responsible for reporting threats that they have witnessed, received, or have been told that another person has witnessed or received. Employees should also report any behavior they have witnessed which they regard as threatening or violent when that behavior is or might be carried out on University property. Employees should contact the Risk Management/ Security Officer at 3114 or after 5:00pm; contact the University Receptionist at 3000, who will contact the night security guard. Texarkana College Police can be contacted for immediate assistance at 83-333. The Texarkana Texas Police Department should also be notified if the violence or threat is serious and/or imminent. Any violent or threatening act committed by or against a student should also be reported. Reports of violence will be handled as confidentially as possible and information will only be disseminated on a need-to-know basis. Employees who report acts of violence will be protected and should not fear reprisals for bringing their concerns to their supervisor. Once an incident does occur, the CMT will meet and evaluate the threat and decide on an appropriate course of action.
Go to top of page
||RESPONDING TO DISRUPTIVE, THREATENING OR VIOLENT BEHAVIOR
||Listed below are suggested ways to deal with persons exhibiting any of the above types of behavior. As stated, these are only suggestions and cannot be expected to work in every situation.
STEP 1: General response to disruptive behavior (no threats or weapons)
If this approach does not stop the disruption, assess whether the individual seems dangerous at this point. If, in your best opinion, he/she is upset but not a threat, set limits and seek assistance as needed.
- Respond quietly and calmly. Try and defuse the situation
- Do not take the behavior personally. Usually, the behavior has little to do with you, but you are used as a target in the situation
- Ask questions. Respectful concern and interest may demonstrate that aggression is not necessary
- Consider offering an apology for what happened. Even if you've done nothing wrong, an apology may calm the individual and encourage cooperation. "I"m sorry that happened. What can we do now that will help solve the problem?"
- Summarize what you hear the individual saying. Make sure you are communicating clearly. In a crisis, a person may feel humiliated and wants respect and attention. Your summary of the person's concerns reflects your attention. Focus on areas of agreement to help resolve the concern.
STEP 2: Step 1 response ineffective, individual DOES NOT seem dangerous
- Calmly and firmly set limits. "Please lower your voice. There will be no disruptions in this office. Please be patient so that I can understand what you need and try to help you."
- Ask the individual to stop the behavior and warn that official action may be taken. "Disruption is subject to University disciplinary action so you need to calm down or you may be reported."
- If the disruption continues despite a warning, tell the subject that they may be disciplined or prosecuted. Tell them the discussion is over and direct them to leave the office. "Please leave now. If you don't, we will call the Police."
- If the individual still refuses to leave after being told to do so, advise them that this refusal is subject to discipline, exclusion from work, or arrest. Call the TAMU-T police - 3114, security after 5:00pm & weekends - 3000 and/or the Texarkana Texas Police Dept. Seek immediate help from other co-workers to stand by until Security or Police can arrive.
STEP 3: Step 1 response is ineffective and the individual SEEMS DANGEROUS
- Use a calm, non-confrontational approach to defuse the situation. Indicate your desire to listen and understand the problem.
- Do not isolate yourself with an individual who may seem dangerous. Maintain a safe distance from the subject and don't turn your back on him/her.
- Never touch the individual yourself to try and remove them from the area. Even a gentle push or holding the person's arm may be interpreted as an assault by an agitated person who may respond with violence towards you or file a lawsuit against you later.
- Try and set limits with the individual's behavior. Please lower your voice. Please stop shouting (or using profanity)
- Signal for assistance if you think the situation is getting out of control. It would be a good idea to have a prearranged "distress" signal with a co-worker to have them check on you or call police if needed.
- Do not mention discipline or the Police if the subject has become very angry and you fear a violent response.
- If the situation escalates, try to find a way to leave the area as quickly as possible and call Police.
Go to top of page
||For crimes in progress, violent incidents or specific threats of imminent violence, call the University Receptionist (0) who can notify University Police or Security (3114) and call the Texarkana Texas Police Dept. at 9-911. In serious situations requiring a quick Police response you can also call Texarkana College Police (83-333) for immediate assistance.
When confronted with a situation where another person is armed with a weapon or you're not sure if that person is armed but they are behaving in such a manner that causes you to fear for your safety or that of another, immediately contact the University Receptionist who will contact TAMU-T security and then the Texarkana Texas Police Dept. If possible, use a phone out of sight/hearing of the individual. Do not attempt to intervene physically or deal with the situation yourself. It is critical that the police take charge of any incident that can or does involve physical harm, especially if a suspect is armed. Get yourself and others to safety as quickly as possible. If you don't have an exit away from the subject, lock yourself in a room and call 9- 911. If possible, keep an open line to the police until they arrive. If you cannot stay on the line, give the police dispatcher as much information as possible and tell them where you are at so they can come to you.
Go to top of page
||Knowing what to do before a serious incident occurs can help prevent injury and possibly even save lives. A basic Workplace Violence Prevention Seminar will be offered to all employees. Employees hired after the initial offering will receive training when available. The CMT shall meet on a yearly basis and will decide what, if any, new training is needed or required for our employees.
||The Risk Management/Security Office shall keep a record of workplace violence incidents, no matter how minor. Serious incidents that require more than first aid shall be reported on the OSHA 200 Log as well. These records will help in selecting the appropriate level of controls to prevent recurrence and in determining future training.