State of Vermont
Agency of Administration
Department of Buildings & General Services
Title: Violence in the Workplace
Date of Issue: August 15, 1999
Supersedes: Initial Policy
The objective of this policy is to reduce the potential for violence in and around the workplace, to encourage and foster a work environment that is characterized by respect and healthy conflict resolution, and to mitigate the negative consequences for employees who experience or encounter violence in their work lives.
The Department of Buildings & General Services (BGS) is committed to providing a safe working environment for its employees and the public. The Department will not tolerate acts of violence committed by or against its employees, or members of the public while on State property or while performing State business in other locations. These violent actions will not be tolerated or ignored. They will be prosecuted as appropriate.
Violent acts committed by State employees will be handled in accordance with the State of Vermont Personnel Policies and Procedures, number 8.0, Disciplinary Action and Corrective, and the Vermont State Employees’ contract. The State intends to use reasonable legal, managerial, administrative, and disciplinary procedures to secure the workplace free of violence and to reasonably protect employees and members of the public.
In the interest of maintaining a workplace that is safe and free of violence, possession or use of a weapon is prohibited in State buildings, except as hereinafter provided. Exceptions to Dangerous Weapons Prohibition: Employees of the State of Vermont may possess a firearm in State buildings only if engaged in military or law enforcement activities.
For the purposes of this policy, "work violence" shall mean an act or behavior that:
- Constitutes physical assault. "Physical assault" is any form of assault, disturbance, breach of the peace, or stalking as defined in 13 VSA, Subchapters 4, 6, and 7.
- A reasonable person would perceive as obsessive or intently focused on a certain person or persons and is reasonably likely to result in harm or threats of harm to people or property.
- Consists of a communicated or reasonably perceived threat to harm another individual or in any way endanger the safety of an individual
- A reasonable person would perceive as potentially physically harmful to an individual
- A reasonable person would perceive as harassing; defined in the Stalking Subchapter §§1061(4) as "a course of conduct directed at a specific person which would cause a reasonable person to fear unlawful sexual conduct, unlawful restraint, bodily injury, or death, including but not limited to verbal threats, written threats, vandalism, or un-consented to physical contact.
- Involves carrying or displaying dangerous weapons which are not exempt from this policy, destroying property or throwing objects in a manner reasonably perceived to be threatening
- Consists of communicated or reasonably perceived threat to harm another individual or in any way endanger the safety of an individual or to destroy property.
"Dangerous or deadly weapon" means any firearm, or other weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, whether animate or inanimate, which is the manner it is used or is intended to be used is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily harm.
"Firearm means any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, which will expel a projectile by the action of an explosive and explosive and includes any weapon commonly referred to as a pistol, revolver, rifle, gun, machine gun, or shotgun.
All employees are responsible for:
- Refraining from acts of violence and for seeking assistance to resolve personal issues that may lead to violence in the workplace.
- Reporting to managers and supervisors any dangerous or threatening situations that occur in the workplace.
Managers and supervisors are responsible for:
- Assessing situations, making judgments as to the appropriate response; responding to reports of, or knowledge of, violence; and initiating the investigation process.
- Developing procedures that are designed to reasonably:
- Achieve a prompt and appropriate response to any act of violence;
- Promote accountability among employees for acts of violence committed in the workplace; and to
- Establish oversight of investigations of violence;
- Establish protocols to provide immediate response to serious incidents;
- Develop avenues of support for employees who experience violence;
- Ensure that all employees are informed of this policy
When a violent act, as defined above, occurs:
Call 911 and Notify an Immediate Supervisor if:
- The act or altercation constitutes an emergency;
- The parties to a violent altercation cannot be separated, of if it would be too dangerous for another employee or manager to separate the parties involved.
- The incident involves a criminal situation.
- In situations that do not constitute an emergency, contact an immediate supervisor or manager.
In All Situations
- The BGS Personnel Office will be notified.
- The manager, with assistance from the BGS Personnel Office, will contact the State Personnel Department for guidance in coordinating a response to the incident.
- If criminal activity was involved and the police were not contacted, the State Department of Personnel will follow-up with the local police department to determine the need for additional investigation.
- If it is not appropriate to refer an incident to the local police department, the State Personnel Department will evaluate the incident and make a recommendation regarding the need to conduct an investigation.
- If a recommendation to conduct an investigation is made, the State Personnel Department will coordinate the investigation process.
Department Approval: Thomas W. Torti, Commissioner
Agency Approval Required: Kathleen C. Hoyt, Secretary