Procedure 5J.3/11 Zero Tolerance for Violence in the Workplace


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Anoka-Ramsey Community College has adopted a Violence Prevention Policy in accordance with Minnesota Statute (MS 1.50) Freedom from Violence Act, which states “The State of Minnesota hereby adopts a policy of zero tolerance of violence. It is stated policy that every person in the state has a right to live free from violence.” The college will provide an educational and employment environment that is free from threats or acts of violence, whether perceived or real. Employees, students and visitors of the college will be treated with respect and dignity.

Definition of Violence: “Violence” means the abusive or unjust exercise of power, intimidation, harassment and/or the threatened or actual use of force which results in or has a high likelihood of causing hurt, fear, injury, suffering or death. Workplace violence generally falls in three categories:

  1. A violent act or threat (perceived or real) by a current or former employee, supervisor of manager, or someone who has some involvement with a current or former employee, such as an employee’s spouse, significant other, relative or another person who has a dispute with an employee
  2. A violent act or threat (perceived or real) by a student or a member of the public visiting the college
  3. A violent act by someone totally unrelated to the work environment

Violent acts are frequently the end result of long-standing disputes or unresolved arguments, which can begin with a disrespectful comment or action and escalate to more serious levels of violence. A continuum of violence often begins with such acts as name-calling or other negative comments, which can progress to pushing, shoving, or shouting and further continue into physical assault. The complete workplace climate and environment must be assessed in order to prevent violence, rather than merely respond to incidents of violence in the workplace.

The college will foster an environment where employees, students and visitors are at low risk of involvement in workplace violence. This will be accomplished by encouraging mutual respect among all individuals, establishing open and honest communication, inviting all employees to provide input, and enforcing zero tolerance for any type of violent behavior. Specifically, the college will:

  • Provide information and training for employees and information to students and visitors that will foster a workplace environment that is safe, respectful, pro-active and responsive to threat or acts of violence
  • Deal promptly, positively and aggressively with threats or acts of violence.
  • Take strong disciplinary action against employees and students of the college who are involved in the commission of work-related threats or acts of violence. (Disciplinary action includes any measure up to and including discharge from employment or expulsion from enrollment)
  • Support criminal prosecution of those who threaten or commit work-related violence against its employees, students or visitors. Pursuant to Minnesota Statute 15, 86, this policy does not create any civil liability on the part of the State of Minnesota
  • Enforce the college policy of restricting possession or carry of firearms applicable to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, in accordance with the Minnesota Citizens’ Personal Protection Act of 2003, Minnesota Statutes section 624.714, and other applicable law. (See collegePolicy 5J.4 Possession or Carry.)
  • Enforce the college policy of prohibiting possession or carry of dangerous weapons by any person on college property with the exception of those dangerous weapons carried 1) by a law enforcement officer or licensed peace officer under Minnesota Statutes section 626.84, subd. 1(c), when assigned by the college to public safety duties or 2) by employees or students for reasons pertaining to educational purposes in the workplace. The category “dangerous weapons” includes, but is not limited to, any weapon that it illegal to possess; loaded or unloaded, assembled or disassembled pellet guns, BB guns, and stun guns; replicate firearms, as defined in Minnesota Statute 609.713; knives and other similar instruments with a blade length of more than three inches, other than those normally present in the workplace for the specific purpose of food preparation and service; any switchblade knife, brass or metal knuckles and similar weapons; bows, cross-bows and arrows; explosives and explosive devices; throwing stars, numchucks, clubs, saps, and any other commonly used or intended for use as a weapon.

The college is committed to ensuring the workplace provides for safety and reasonable protection from workplace violence. The following actions and activities will support violence prevention goals and policies: 

  1. Emphasis will be placed on treating all people with respect and dignity as indicated in the college’s value statement, “Anoka-Ramsey values trust, fairness, honesty and integrity in all interactions”
  2. Employees will be provided training that fosters a workplace environment and climate that is devoid of violence
  3. Employees will be expected to observe the procedures as outlined in the college’s Environmental Health and Safety policy
  4. Employees will be expected to lead by example in promoting positive behavior
  5. Supervisors will be empowered to take immediate action to resolve or stabilize violent situations in the workplace and to protect people from harm
  6. Supervisors will ensure appropriate incident response reports are completed immediate when a threat or violent incident occurs
  7. The Public Safety Department for each campus will serve as referral sources and respond as needed to any incident report on their respective campuses.
  8. Operations will be conducted in a fair, efficient, reliable and understandable manner
  9. Standards of conduct will be clear, communicated and consistently enforced
  10. Discipline for unacceptable behavior will be used fairly, consistently and appropriately
  11. The college will not tolerate threatening or violent language or behavior among its employees, students or visitors.
  12. The college will uphold the Minnesota Manifesto—a statement signed by college presidents representing Minnesota higher education, which prohibits acts of harassment and intolerance and promotes the acceptance of and respect of every individual in an atmosphere of caring for others
  13. Employees will be encouraged to make use of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)—an assessment, short-term counseling and referral agency

History:

04.2009 Amended to clarify verbiage re: intolerance to language
11.2003 Amended to adopt language appropriate to new Minnesota Possession and carry law passed in Spring 2003

For Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) policies and procedures, go to http://www.mnscu.edu/board/policy/index.html