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2.2.4 Violence in the Workplace

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Last updated on:
09/09/2022
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
2.2.11, 23.9

This policy provides guidelines for responding to violence or threats of violence in the workplace, including all University locations.

Authority: 

Approved by the Vice President for Human Resources.

Applicability: 

Applies to all Stanford University employees, and to all individuals who, while not Stanford employees, provide services at Stanford.

1. Policy

Stanford University strives to provide employees with a safe environment in which to work. Therefore, the University will not tolerate acts or threats of violence in the workplace as further described in this policy. In addition, all weapons, as defined by California Penal Code, are banned from university premises unless written permission is given by the Stanford Department of Public Safety. Employees who violate this policy will be subject to corrective action, including termination. Non-employee violations of this policy will be handled in accordance with applicable laws.

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2. Definitions

a. Acts of violence include any physical action, whether intentional or reckless, that harms or threatens the safety of another individual in the workplace. Acts of violence include, but are not limited to, punching, striking, shoving, use of weapons, or other physical attack.

b. A threat of violence includes any behavior that by its very nature could be interpreted by a reasonable person as an intent to cause physical harm to another individual or to cause fear for one’s safety or the safety of others. Examples of conduct that could be considered threats include, but are not limited to:

  • Threat of physical or aggressive conduct
  • Veiled threats of physical harm or similar intimidation
  • Threat of destruction of university or an individual’s property
  • Harassing or threatening communications by phone, email, text, social media, or in person
  • Possession, threat of use, or brandishing of a gun, knife, or other weapon, including toy or facsimile weapons
  • Stalking

Note: Harassment or stalking of a nature other than that related to threats or acts of physical violence, such as sexual harassment or sexual assault, may be covered by other university policies.

c. Workplace includes all university locations and off-campus locations where faculty, staff, or student employees are engaged in university business.

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3. General Roles and Responsibilities

a. In general

(1) Any person experiencing or observing actual or imminent violence should immediately call 911 or 9-911 from a university telephone.
(2) Any person who believes a crime has been committed against them has the right to report that to the proper law enforcement agency.

b. Employee
Each employee:

(1) Should report any acts or threats of violence to:

  • Their immediate supervisor or other manager in the applicable school or unit, or
  • Their local Human Resources office, or
  • University Human Resources-Employee & Labor Relations, who can be reached at (650) 721-4272

In emergency situations, call 911 or 9-911 from a university telephone. School of Medicine Security can be reached at (650) 723-7222 (or x37222) and SLAC Site Security can be reached at (650) 926-5555 (or x5555).

(2) Should notify their supervisor of any restraining orders against individuals that include the workplace.

c. Supervisor:
The immediate supervisor's responsibilities are:

(1) To respond promptly to issues related to workplace safety.
(2) In the event of a potential or actual incident, to inform their local Human Resources office or University Human Resources-Employee & Labor Relations who can be reached at (650) 721-4272 or stanfordelr@stanford.edu. School of Medicine Security can be reached at (650) 723-7222 (or 37222), and SLAC Site Security can be reached at (650) 926-5555 (or x5555).
(3) In the event they are advised of a restraining order, contact the local Human Resources office who in turn should consult with University Human Resources-Employee & Labor Relations.

d. Local Human Resources Office
Local Human Resources offices are responsible to:

(1) Contact University Human Resources-Employee & Labor Relations immediately after being made aware of a violent act or threat of violence.
(2) Conduct investigations of situations as directed by University Human Resources-Employee & Labor Relations.

e. University Human Resources-Employee & Labor Relations

(1) Consult and advise management regarding concerns about violent and potentially violent employees or others.
(2) In the event of an act or threat of violence, determine the investigation process and coordinate with the assigned investigator. Work with school/unit management, legal counsel, and the Department of Public Safety to determine the appropriate action to be taken.
(3) Gather and maintain University-wide information on workplace acts or threats of violence.

f. Faculty Staff Help Center

(1) Provide confidential counseling services to any employee desiring assistance with situations relating to anger or threats or violence in the workplace.
(2) Provide educational and emotional support and consultation to groups and individuals who are victims, observers, or otherwise adversely affected by a violent incident or threat.
(3) Provide consultation to management on evaluating the potential for violence by employees.

g. Department of Public Safety and Site Security

(1) The Stanford Department of Public Safety (or other applicable law enforcement agency) takes appropriate law enforcement actions.
(2) Site Security officers (including SLAC Site Security and School of Medicine Security) notify and cooperate with all law enforcement agencies as appropriate.

h. Threat Assessment Team

The University's Threat Assessment Team may coordinate the assessment of any situation where there is a concern for risk of potential threat or violence, and may provide additional assessment of situations to determine if further resources and actions are needed.

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4. Reporting Obligations and Procedures

a. Reporting Obligations

Employees are required to immediately report any acts or threats of violence as defined in this policy.

(1) In emergency situations involving an imminent act or threat of violence, immediately call 911 or 9-911 from a university telephone. In an emergency in which 911 is called regarding an incident involving SLAC or the School of Medicine, then contact School of Medicine Security at (650) 723-7222 (or x37222) or SLAC Site Security at (650) 926-5555 (or x5555).

(2) All acts or threats of violence must also be promptly reported to:

(3) Employees who have reported restraining orders against individuals that include the workplace should notify their supervisor. Supervisors who are advised of a restraining order should contact their local Human Resources office who in turn should consult with University Human Resources-Employee & Labor Relations.

b. Procedures

(1) The response to emergency situations that require calling 911 is led by the Department of Public Safety or applicable law enforcement agency.

(2) University Human Resources-Employee & Labor Relations will assist in coordinating the needed resources, depending on the situation.

(3) Separate from any criminal investigation that law enforcement agencies may conduct (if applicable), University Human Resources-Employee & Labor Relations or its designee takes the lead for the university in conducting an investigation into the incident and, in conjunction with school/unit management, takes appropriate action, disciplinary or otherwise.

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