Keeping Everyone Safe
These days it’s not enough to post signs or posters in employee break rooms or have a single workplace violence paragraph in your employee handbook. Why? Violence via one employee on another is a big problem in today’s working environment, but there are some things you can do.
First, you need to be clear on the rules, not only for your state but also what the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA say about workplace violence, especially when it’s one employee battling another. Take the time to visit your local department of labor and ask the tough questions with scenarios on what you could possibly be liable for if a situation arises.
Attend workplace violence seminars, which you can find online by doing a simple Google search. Employer liability for workplace victimization training is invaluable in keeping everyone safe.
You need to implement a zero tolerance policy on issues such as harassment, discrimination, workplace bullying and violence. When instances arise, they need to be investigated fully and the appropriate action taken, even if that means firing the offending employee. OSHA offers a great sample workplace violence policy that you can download from our Media Gallery.
Employers should check with their business liability insurance carrier on what coverages they have in the event workplace violence gets out of hand. Some liability insurance policies don’t offer this exact type of coverage and it must be issued as a rider or add-on. If you do have this coverage, look to your insurance carrier for help on employee training videos and policies—most offer them for free, because they’d rather not defend you or your business in court for failure to implement necessary policies.
Finally, with violence becoming so prominent these days, all business owners and HR managers should seek the advice of a labor law attorney to ensure your policies and procedures are accurate. A labor law attorney can also suggest how to deal with violations, ensure policies are up to date, and also determine if these policies are firm and fair across the board.