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2.2.4 Violence in the Workplace

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Last updated on:
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 of Human Resources.

Applicability: 

Applies to all Stanford University employees, and to all individuals who, while not Stanford employees, perform work at Stanford for its benefit.

1. Policy

Stanford University strives to provide employees a safe environment in which to work; therefore, the University will not tolerate violence or threats of violence in the workplace. All weapons, as defined by California Penal Code, are banned from University premises unless written permission is given by Stanford Department of Public Safety. Employees who violate this policy will be subject to corrective action, including termination. Employees who intentionally bring false charges will also 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.

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.

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. Procedures

a. General Roles and Responsibilities

(1) In general:

(a) Any person experiencing or observing imminent violence should call emergency services at 9-911 immediately.
(b) Any employee who believes a crime has been committed against him/her has the right to report that to the proper law enforcement agency.

(2) Employee:
Each employee:

(a) Should report any acts or threats of violence to his/her immediate supervisor, human resources manager (see the online directory of school/unit HR Managers), to Employee & Labor Relations (650) 723-2191 at SLAC (650) 926-5555, or to the nearest member of management. Such reports will be promptly and thoroughly investigated.
(b) Should notify his/her supervisor of any restraining orders against individuals that include the workplace.

(3) Supervisor:
The immediate supervisor's responsibilities are:

(a) To respond promptly to issues related to workplace safety.
(b) In the event of a potential or actual incident, contact the appropriate personnel including the local Human Resources Office/Employee and Labor Relations (650) 721-4272 and the Stanford Department of Public Safety (650) 723-9633, Medical Center Security (650) 723-7222, or SLAC Site Security (650) 926-5555.
(c) To promptly inform his/her supervisor, the local Human Resources Office/Employee and Labor Relations about any acts or threats of violence even if the situation has been addressed.
(d) In the event he/she is advised of a restraining order, contact the local Human Resources Office/Employee and Labor Relations.

(4) Human Resources Managers (HRMs)
Human resources managers are responsible to:

(a) Contact the appropriate Employee and Labor Relations Representative/Specialist as soon as possible when made aware of a violent act or threat of violence.
(b) Conduct investigations of situations as directed by the Employee and Labor Relations Representative/Specialist.

(5) Employee and Labor Relations staff

(a) Consult and advise management regarding concerns about violent and potentially violent employees or others.
(b) In the event of an act or threat of violence, determine the investigation process and coordinate with the assigned investigator. Work with management, legal counsel, and police/security to determine the appropriate action to be taken as needed.
(c) Gather and maintain University-wide information on workplace acts or threats of violence.

(6) Help Center Counselors [or (650) 723-4577]

(a) Provide confidential counseling services to any employee desiring assistance with situations relating to anger or threats or violence in the workplace.
(b) Provide educational, emotional support and consultation to groups and individuals who are victims, observers, or otherwise adversely affected by a violent incident or threat.
(c) Provide consultation to management on evaluating the potential for violence by employees.
(d) Provide initial assessment of violent or threatening employees and make an appropriate referral for clinical evaluation or treatment as needed.

(7) Police/Security

(a) The Stanford Department of Public Safety takes appropriate law enforcement actions.
(b) SLAC Site Security and Medical School Security notify and cooperate with all law enforcement agencies as appropriate.

(8) Threat Assessment Team

The University's Threat Assessment Team, (typically consisting of representatives from the Ombuds office, Human Resources, Office of the General Counsel, President's Office, CAPS, the Faculty and Staff Help Center, Vaden Health Center and the Department of Public Safety). This 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.

b. Threats of Violence: Responsibilities

(1) Any individual who experiences or observes a threat of violence should immediately report the incident to his/her supervisor, local Human Resources office, or the police.
(2) The supervisor or other person notified calls the appropriate local Human Resources Office or Employee and Labor Relations Representative as soon as possible.
(3) Local management should attempt to ensure the safety of other employees.
(4) Employee and Management Services, along with the supervisor, conduct an investigation of the alleged threat, including interviewing any witnesses.
(5) Based on the finding of the investigation, appropriate action, disciplinary or otherwise, is taken.

c. Acts of Violence Not Involving Injuries or Weapons: Responsibilities

(1) The employee should report the incident immediately to his/her supervisor, the local Human Resources Office, or the police.
(2) The supervisor or other person notified calls the local Human Resources Office HRM or Employee and Labor Relations Representative as soon as possible.
(3) Employee and Management Services or its designee coordinates, if appropriate, with the Help Center counselors for intervention, consultation, or referral for clinical evaluation or treatment.
(4) Employee and Management Services or its designee conducts an independent University investigation of the incident and, in conjunction with management, takes appropriate action, disciplinary or otherwise.

d. Acts of Violence Involving Injuries or Weapons: Responsibilities

(1) Any person observing an incident should call 9-911 first, then, if at the Medical School call Medical School Security (650) 723-7222, and if at SLAC call the SLAC Main Gate Security Officer (650) 926-5555, and then notify local management.
(2) Local management should attempt to ensure the safety of other employees.
(3) Management or employees should not intervene unless, in their best judgment, (a) the situation is too critical to wait for law enforcement officials and, (b) they believe intervention would be successful.
(4) Once Medical School Security, SLAC Site Security, or Stanford Department of Public Safety are notified, they coordinate with the appropriate law-enforcement agencies and assist in controlling the situation.
(5) Separate from any criminal investigation that the police may conduct, Employee and Management Services or its designee takes the lead for the University in conducting an independent investigation into the incident and, in conjunction with management, takes appropriate action, disciplinary or otherwise.
(6) If necessary, the Help Center counselors arrange to work with victims and observers of the incident.

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