Human Resources Management Policy Manual
ZERO TOLERANCE TO
NOTE: THIS POLICY, LIKE ALL OTHER POLICIES WITHIN THE HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT POLICY MANUAL, IS NOT A CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON AS SUCH. THIS POLICY MAY BE CHANGED AT ANY TIME BY THE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
Policy The Medical University of South Carolina is committed to creating and maintaining a working, learning, and patient care environment, which is free from violence. Understanding and mutual respect toward all individuals are essential elements to excellence in teaching and learning, to the existence of a safe and healthy workplace, and to the maintenance of a campus culture and Medical Center environment which serves the needs of the community. The University prohibits violent acts or threats of violence. Any employee, student or visitor who commits a violent act, or threatens to commit a violent act, is subject to disciplinary action and/or civil or criminal prosecution as appropriate (Refer to Human Resources Policy No. 45, Disciplinary Action).
The Medical University of South Carolina has zero tolerance for violence against any member of the workforce, any other persons in the workplace, or its property. Any person who makes threats, exhibits threatening behavior, or engages in violent acts on university property shall be subject to removal from the premises as quickly as safety permits. For the purpose of this policy, violence and threats of violence include but are not limited to:
- any act that is physically abusive or
- any physical or verbal threat, behavior, or action which is interpreted by a reasonable person to carry the potential
- to harm or endanger the safety of others;
- to result in an act of aggression; or
- to destroy or damage property
- Reporting Each allegation of violence or threat of violence will be taken seriously. Individuals (including students) are responsible for reporting acts of violence, threats of violence, or any other behavior, which by intent, act, or outcome could harm another person or property. Reports shall be made to the most appropriate of the following:
- Immediate supervisor,
- Medical Center Security, or
- Appropriate College Dean.
The Director of the Department of Human Resources (792-2121) should be contacted immediately if you anticipate that the actions of anyone in your area have the potential or appearance of creating an environment that could cause or contribute to an act of violence. The following are examples of warning signs, symptoms, and risk factors, which may indicate an employee’s, student’s, or visitor’s potential for workplace violence:
- Dropping hints about knowledge of firearms.
- Making intimidating comments, threats, or allusions to violence against others in the organization.
- Possessing at work reading or video material with themes of violence, revenge, and harassment.
- Acting out either verbally or physically.
- Expressions of excessive bitterness by disgruntled employee or ex-employee.
- Preferring always to work alone or on the night shift, and isolating oneself from fellow workers.
- Having a corroborating history of interpersonal conflict or police record for violence or threats of violence.
- Expressions of intense anger, lack of empathy.
- Having the risk factor of domestic problems; unstable/dysfunctional family situation.
- Exhibiting brooding, depressed, strange behavior.
- Displaying physical signs of hard breathing, reddening of complexion, menacing stare, loudness, fast profane speech.
The role of the Public Safety Department, in regards to workplace violence, is to provide an immediate response to a critical situation, not only by dispatching public safety officers but also by requesting and coordinating fire department, city police, or any other authorities deemed necessary. The Department will provide physical security for threatened or at-risk persons; enforce applicable laws; and thoroughly document all incidents and actions. Supervisors, faculty, students and staff, are encouraged to contact Public Safety or Medical Center Security when issues regarding workplace or personal security arise. The Public Safety Department will fill out the official MUSC incident report describing the situation. Once an incident has been identified, the Director of Public Safety or the Manager of Medical Center Security will notify the Workplace Violence Prevention Committee of the occurrence.
- The Workplace Violence Prevention Committee The Workplace Violence Prevention Committee is established to design, formalize, implement, and revise the policies and procedures needed to prevent and resolve threats of or violent acts in the workplace. Once the committee is notified of the occurrence of a workplace violence incident, the Workplace Violence Prevention Committee will determine if additional resources are necessary to resolve the matter. The members of this committee represent all aspects of MUSC, including the medical center, academics, and administration. The committee also serves as the oversight committee for the Threat Assessment Team (see below) and the Workplace Violence training function.
- Sub-functions of the Workplace Violence Committee The Threat Assessment Team is a subgroup of the Workplace Violence Prevention Committee. The Threat Assessment Team’s primary function is to assess the workplace and identify the risks associated with threats and/or violence in the work areas. The Team is also responsible for assisting the Workplace Violence Prevention Committee with situations involving threats or violence. The Workplace Violence Prevention Committee assigns members to the Team based on their expertise in threat assessments and workplace analysis.
- Training In order to eliminate and/or minimize the risks involved with violence in our workplace, the training division of Human Resources Management is responsible for scheduling workplace violence training for MUSC faculty, students, Medical Center staff, and employees. Public Safety and the Medical Center Security staffs are responsible for designing and implementing the training. The Workplace Violence Prevention Committee will review the training programs annually to ensure they are compliant with OSHA guidelines and are appropriate for MUSC. All employees, regardless of their level of risk, will receive the following training:
- Techniques for recognizing the potential for violence.
- Procedures, policies and work environment arrangements developed to control the risk of violence to workers.
- Proper use of security devices (i.e., burglar alarms, panic buttons, etc.).
- The appropriate response to incidents of or potential threats of violence, including emergency and hostage situations.
- How to obtain medical assistance and follow-up.
- Procedures for reporting, investigating and documenting threats and incidents of violence.
- Travel safety.
- Cash and other asset handling procedures.
Workers with job tasks that place them at higher risk for violence will be provided specialized training in addition to those topics outlined above. Training will be designed to deal with the nature of the risk. Managers and supervisors will undergo the same training as outlined above in addition to training that will enable them to recognize potentially hazardous situation
Providing assistance to employees after a violent incident in the workplace is important to restoring a sense of well being to the assaulted or threatened employee(s) and calm in the workplace. Below is a list of procedures that should be followed after an incidence of violence. The list is not all-inclusive, therefore, depending on the nature and severity of the situation additional actions will be taken.
Immediately following the reporting of the incident to Public Safety (extension 2-4196), the Department of Human Resources Management must also be notified (extension 2-3348).
- If the employee has been assaulted on University property (e.g., buildings and parking facilities owned or leased by MUSC), accompany the individual to Employee Health Services (7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday) at 159 Rutledge Avenue (extension 2-2991). For serious injuries or injuries that occur after normal working hours or on weekends take the employee to Emergency Services, first floor of the MUSC Medical Center Hospital.
- With the assistance of Public Safety, ensure that the alleged assailant or threatener is barred from the workplace until and/or after an investigation has occurred. If the alleged assailant or threatener is a MUSC employee, he/she will be suspended from work without pay during the investigation. When it appears as if employees have mutually assaulted or threatened one another, both employees will be suspended.
- Notify the MUSC Employee Assistance Program (extension 2-2848) of the incident and refer the victimized employee(s) to the Program.
- Allow the employee who has been assaulted or threatened the use of accrued sick leave for all medical or EAP appointments, as necessary. An assaulted employee may be covered by Workers’ Compensation Benefits. Consult with the Workers’ Compensation Manager, extension 2-1775. It is the responsibility of the employee’s supervisor/manager to ensure the ACORD form is completed.
- Employees who are assaulted by clients or patients of the Medical University or Medical Center are entitled to Administrative Leave en lieu of personal sick leave (See University Human Resources Policy No. 21).
- Consult with Public Safety regarding steps that can be taken to reduce the possibility of other workplace violence incidences reoccurring in the workplace
- Brief appropriate department managers and supervisors regarding the incident. Also, inform employees regarding the incident and steps that will be taken to prevent further incidences. Consult with Public Safety and Human Resources for assistance with these meetings.
- Human Resources Management will notify MUSC’s General Counsel of the incident.
Medical University Board of Trustees
Director of Human Resources Management