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SUPERCEDED Administration Policy and Procedure


41.135:  Workplace Violence

Superceded on February 11, 2013

Current Version


Status:

Approved on February 4, 2008Signatures and dates
on archival copy

Effective:

30 days after approval 

Initiated by:

James E. Kemper
Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration for Human Resources
 

Endorsed by:

The Ohio
University
Executive Staff

Kathy Krendl
Executive Vice President and Provost
 

Approved by:

Roderick J. McDavis
President
 

Date of Approval
Following Last Full Review:

February 4, 2008 


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Purpose

This policy identifies unacceptable behavior by employees that will not be tolerated by Ohio University and establishes guidelines and procedures for dealing with employees who knowingly and willfully ignore this policy.


Plan


I.  Definitions

Employee - any person who is employed by Ohio University

Workplace - any location where Ohio University business is being conducted

On duty - an employee's regularly scheduled hours or while acting in his or her official capacity for Ohio University

Off duty - an Ohio University employee in the workplace when not scheduled to work, and not acting in his or her official capacity for Ohio University


II.  Statement

Ohio University is committed to the goal of maintaining a safe, violence-free workplace.

Ohio University strongly disapproves of, and will not tolerate, threats, violent behavior, or acts of intimidation or harassment of any kind by any Ohio University employee upon any faculty, staff, students, or visitors. Ohio University employees are not permitted to commit acts of inappropriate behavior in the workplace at any time whether on or off duty.


III.  Examples of Unacceptable Behavior

Examples of unacceptable behavior include the following:

  1. Threatening telephone calls or written messages.

  2. Vandalism of personal or University property.

  3. Following or stalking faculty, staff, students, or visitors.

  4. Assaults on employees or their families.

  5. Direct or implied threats of retaliation toward an employee.

  6. Harassment in any form, verbal, written, or by gesture.

  7. Pushing, fighting, shoving, or horseplay.

  8. In an intimidating manner, carrying, showing, or displaying unauthorized dangerous or threatening weapons, including firearms, knives, martial arts devices, spears, swords, bows and arrows or other archery types of devices, sling shots, blow darts, blackjacks, stun guns, tasers, or other kind of submission devices, except as noted in subsection IV, immediately below.


IV.  Examples of Acceptable Uses of Weapons

Examples of acceptable uses of weapons include the following:

  1. Firearms required for the Office of Campus Safety and police purposes.

  2. Props used for theatrical or entertainment presentations.

  3. Military Science training purposes.

  4. Archive and museum collections and displays.

  5. Weapons used for decorative purposes (provided they are certified as inoperable and safe for display by Office of Campus Safety).

  6. Weapons in possession of non-university groups conducting legitimate business on campus and under the approval and supervision of the Office of Campus Safety.

  7. Martial arts devices (e.g., archery, fencing, target shooting, etc.) used in organized training or competition sponsored by Intercollegiate Athletics or Club Sports.


V.  Duty to Report

It is every employee's responsibility to report all threats, acts of intimidation, harassment, violence (physical or verbal), and any other questionable behavior. Reports may be made to the employee's supervisor, department head, or chair, or to University Human Resources ("UHR"), or the Ohio University Police Department ("OUPD"). However, immediate threats to personal safety or property should be reported directly to the OUPD, then to UHR. If the supervisor or academic administrator is involved in or committed the act in question, then the employee should discuss the situation with UHR. By whatever method they are reported, all reported incidents involving the use of physical violence or threat of violence against any faculty, staff member, student, visitor, or property will be immediately investigated and addressed.

Any member of the University Community who has a question about his or her responsibilities under this policy should call the Office for Institutional Equity or the Office of Legal Affairs.


VI.  Cooperation with Investigation

The complainant has the burden of proof to show violation. He or she is expected to actively provide information that will support his or her complaint in the time and manner deemed necessary and appropriate by the University to conduct the investigation. Failure to cooperate with the investigation process in a timely manner may negate the University's obligation to continue with the investigation.


VII.  Confidentiality and Privacy

The Office for Institutional Equity, the Office of Legal Affairs, or University Human Resources, when conducting an investigation of alleged harassment, including workplace violence, are designated by the Ohio University Board of Trustees with quasi-criminal investigative authority. During the investigation of an applicable complaint, the records generated will be argued to be exempt from disclosure as an exception to the public records law. Once the investigation is complete, the records are open pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 149.43 (A)(1)(h).

Student names are protected at all times from public disclosure, pursuant to the Family Education Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA), unless waived by the student, or unless another FERPA exception applies. However, names may be released to university employees or agents who need to know the names for the purpose of conducting an investigation.

Medical information, if any, will be protected pursuant to the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act whenever appropriate.


VIII.  Filing a False Complaint

Knowingly filing a false workplace violence complaint is prohibited and shall be a violation of this policy and shall constitute misconduct subject to disciplinary action.


IX.  Retaliation

Retaliation against anyone who in good faith brings a complaint alleging a violation of this policy, or who in good faith participates in the investigation of a complaint pursuant to this policy, is prohibited, regardless of the outcome of the complaint. Substantiated retaliation shall constitute misconduct subject to disciplinary action.


X.  Sanctions

All disciplinary matters arising from complaints alleging violation of this policy by an employee will be handled through Ohio University's usual disciplinary practices, according to the specific employment relationship, and may result in termination of employment by Ohio University, or some lesser penalty.


XI.  Employee Indemnification

At any time, should Ohio University be named a defendant in a law suit alleging workplace violence, the entire record of any complaints and investigation shall be held and managed by the Office of Legal Affairs. Ohio University may request that it be released from indemnifying or defending any employee who is named as a defendant in a workplace violence lawsuit.

Ohio University will indemnify and defend any employee who is named as a defendant in a lawsuit based on his or her action of reporting a complaint under subsection V, above, or based on his or her cooperation with an investigation of such a complaint, under subsection VI, above, unless the Office for Institutional Equity and the Office of Legal Affairs have found that the employee knowingly provided false or misleading information.


XII.  Time Limits

A complaint of workplace violence must be filed no later than 180 days from the date of the last occurrence of the alleged behavior.


Policies and Procedures


I.  Process

  1. Any employee who believes that she or he is the victim of violence or intimidation (including having been threatened verbally, or in writing, or by a gesture) should report the matter immediately to his or her supervisor, department head, or chair, or the Office for Institutional Equity, University Human Resources, or the Ohio University Police Department.

  2. Whoever receives a complaint from an employee under item 1, immediately above, will assist the employee in filling out the "Unacceptable Behavior Incident Report" form and submitting it to UHR. If the complaint has been made to the employee's supervisor, department head, or chair, that person will consult with UHR to determine the course of action to be taken.

  3. Because any violation of this policy is likely to be a violation also of Policy and Procedure 03.004, "Harassment," UHR will provide the Office for Institutional Equity with a copy of the Unacceptable Behavior Incident Report form promptly upon its submission, and will inform OIE of the final resolution of the case.

  4. Depending upon the circumstances, the investigation of the complaint will be handled by OIE, UHR, OUPD, or the supervisor taking the complaint under the guidance of UHR.

  5. Violence and acts of intimidation or threats in any form will be thoroughly investigated as quickly and as confidentially as possible.

  6. If it is determined that the complaint is valid, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against the offending employee, following Ohio University's usual disciplinary practices.


II.  Notification of New Employees

All new employees of Ohio University will be provided with a copy of this Workplace Violence Policy at the time of employment. The University will provide adequate time for the employee to review and ask questions regarding this policy. The employee will be required to acknowledge the receipt of this policy during the orientation process.


III.  Questions

Any faculty or staff member who has questions or concerns about this policy should contact a member of management including his or her supervisor, department head, or chair, the Office for Institutional Equity, University Human Resources, or the Ohio University Police Department.


IV.  Appeal Rights

If any disciplinary action under this policy is taken against a member of the faculty, that action may be appealed to the Faculty Senate as described in the Faculty Handbook, Section II.G, "Faculty Grievance Committee."

If any disciplinary action under this policy is taken against an employee who is covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the action will be subject to the grievance procedure set forth in the bargaining agreement.

If any disciplinary action under this policy is taken against an employee who is not part of a collective bargaining unit, such employee may formally appeal the action according to Policy and Procedure 40.043, "Grievance Procedure for Classified Employees," or Policy and Procedure 41.011, "Grievance Procedure for Administrative Presidential Appointees," as appropriate.


V.  Related Policies

Please refer to Policy and Procedure 03.004, "Harassment," and to Policy and Procedure 41.133, "Alcohol and Other Drugs," for further information regarding these areas.


Reviewers

Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:

  1. President

  2. Executive Vice President and Provost

  3. Executive Staff

  4. Vice President for Finance and Administration

  5. Vice Provost for University Outreach and Regional Campuses

  6. Director of Campus Safety

  7. Director of Legal Affairs

  8. Regional Campus Deans

  9. Executive Assistant to the President for Institutional Equity

  10. Faculty Senate

  11. Administrative Senate

  12. Classified Senate

  13. Bargaining Units

  14. Policy and Procedure Review Committee


Forms

The following forms are specific to this policy:

  1. The Unacceptable Behavior Incident Report form is available from University Human Resources and online, linked from http://www.ohio.edu/hr/forms.cfm.


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Dick Piccard revised this file (http://www.ohio.edu/policy/s41-135.html) on February 22, 2013.
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