Workplace Violence Prevention Policy

Effective Date: May 10, 2010
Downloadable Version: Dowload PDF Templates Workplace Violence Prevention Policy
This document is available in alternate format on request.

Purpose/Rationale:

The Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning and the University of Guelph-Humber (hereafter referred to as “Humber” or “College”) is committed to providing a safe learning/working environment that promotes a violence-free environment. Any act of violence committed by or against any member of the Humber community or member of the public, is unacceptable conduct that will not be tolerated. This policy applies to all activities that occur while on Humber property or while engaging in Humber business such as activities, or social events that happen off property including a virtual environment.  All reports of incidents are taken seriously and dealt with appropriately and, to the extent possible, confidentially.  In determining the appropriate response, the College will take into account the assistance available from law enforcement agencies to optimize use of its limited resources.

Scope:

This policy will apply to all members of the College community. The Humber community includes employees and students at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, members of Humber’s Board of Governors, members of standing and ad hoc committees established by these institutions, members of societies and associations which have a direct relationship to or are under the authority of these institutions, contractors, service providers, researchers and visitors, including invitees, guests or persons who have no ongoing connection to the institution but are on campus.

Visitors to the campus will be subject to complaints if they engage in prohibited conduct. The College will take appropriate actions and apply appropriate remedies (e.g. barring them from campus) if prohibited conduct is found. Such visitors may also be able to initiate a complaint under this policy.

All Contractual Relationships entered into by the College will be governed by a standard contract compliance clause which states that contractors must comply with this policy, including co-operating in investigations. Breach of this clause may result in penalties or cancellation of the contract.

Definitions:

See Appendix A

Policy:

1.  Policy Statement:

Violent actions on the College property or at approved activities occurring off property will not ``be tolerated or ignored. The College will use reasonable legal, administrative, and disciplinary procedures to secure the workplace from violence, and to reasonably protect employees, students and the public.

The objectives of this policy are to achieve the following:

  • to ensure that individuals are aware of and understand that acts of violence are considered serious offences for which the necessary action will be taken;
  • to encourage those subjected to or witness to acts of workplace violence to access any assistance they may require in order to pursue a complaint;
  • to reduce the potential for violence in and around Humber;
  • to encourage and foster a learning/working environment that is characterized by respect and regard for one another;
  • to mitigate the negative consequences for employees who experience or encounter violence in their work lives;
  • to ensure that disciplinary action is pursued where appropriate;
  • to provide an avenue for reporting occurrences.

Violent actions on the College property or at approved activities occurring off property will not be tolerated or ignored. The College will use reasonable legal, administrative, and disciplinary procedures to secure the workplace from violence, and to reasonably protect employees, students and the public.

2. Possession and Use of Dangerous Weapons by Employees and/or Students:

Prohibition

In the interest of maintaining a workplace that is safe and free of violence, possession of or use of a dangerous weapon is prohibited on College property in College vehicles or personal vehicles which are used for College business.

Dangerous Weapon Defined

A dangerous weapon is any instrument capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, and or under circumstances that manifest intent to harm or intimidate another person or that warrants alarm for the safety of another person.

3. Responsibilities:

3.1 The College

The College is responsible for the following:

  • Creating and promoting a safe working and learning environment, where possible;
  • Investigating reported incidents of workplace violence in an objective and timely manner;
  • Taking necessary action to respond to those incidents.

3.2 Directors/Deans/Associate Deans/Managers

Directors/Deans/Associate Deans/Managers are responsible for:

  • Assessing non-emergency situation;
  • Making judgments on the appropriate response; and
  • Responding to reports of or knowledge of violence and for initiating the investigation process.  (For emergency situations, contact Public Safety at extension 4000.)

Where issues of employee/student safety are of concern, Directors/Deans/Associate Deans/Managers should evaluate the workplace and make appropriate recommendations regarding a reasonable response.  Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken when it is determined that College employees/students have committed acts of violence.

3.3 Employees

All employees and students are responsible for:

  • Maintaining a safe work environment, whenever possible;
  • Refraining from acts of violence and for seeking assistance to resolve personal issues that may lead to acts of violence in the workplace;
  • Reporting to managers any dangerous or threatening situations that occur in the workplace; no reprisals will be made against those reporting incidents in good faith.

Employees are encouraged to report to their manager situations that occur outside of the workplace which may affect workplace safety, i.e., instances where court orders have been issued or threats made by others, etc.

References:

Humber’s Human Rights Policy

Humber’s Occupational Health & Safety Policy

Humber’s Student Charter of Responsibilities and Rights

Appendices:

APPENDIX A

DEFINITIONS

Harassment:   is defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Occupational Health & Safety Act as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. The College interprets this to include any behaviour that is known or ought reasonably to be known to the perpetrator to be offensive, embarrassing or humiliating to other individuals. Such conduct may include visual representations, electronic messages, written messages, verbal and/or physical conduct, and may relate to any of the grounds of discrimination prohibited by the Ontario Human Rights Code or other malicious grounds.   Harassment complaints are dealt with under Humber’s Human Rights and Harassment Policy.

Some examples of harassment are:

  • unwelcome remarks, jokes, slurs, innuendoes or taunting;
  • hazing, stalking or shunning;
  • the repeated mistreatment of one employee, targeted by one or more employees with a malicious mix of humiliation, intimidation and sabotage of performance (bullying);
  • displaying derogatory or offensive pictures, graffiti or materials either through printed copy or personal computer;
  • verbal abuse;
  • insulting gestures or practical jokes which cause embarrassment or awkwardness;
  • unauthorized and/or unnecessary physical contact;
  • an impassioned, collective campaign by co-workers to exclude, punish and humiliate a targeted worker.

For the purposes of this Humber policy, “harassment” as outlined in the Occupational Health & Safety Act also includes personal/psychological harassment.

Note: Harassment does not occur where a supervisor gives legitimate directions or instructions to an employee in the course of employment or conducts performance reviews in accordance with the college's normal procedures.

Personal/Psychological Harassment:  Behavior in the form of repeated and hostile or unwanted conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures, that affects an employee’s dignity or psychological or physical integrity and that result in a harmful work environment for the employee. Psychological harassment includes and is not limited to behaviours defined as bullying, mobbing, victimization, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and psychological violence. A single serious incident of such behaviour that has a lasting harmful effect may constitute psychological harassment. It must be demonstrated that this behaviour affects the person’s dignity or physical or psychological integrity and that it results in a harmful work environment for the employee.  Harassment complaints are dealt with under Humber’s Human Rights and Harassment Policy.

Workplace:  is wherever an employee or student attends for the purpose of work or study involving activities sanctioned by the College, including a virtual or cyberspace environment.

Workplace violence:  is any act in which a person is abused, threatened, intimidated or assaulted in the course of employment or learning.  Workplace violence includes threatening behavior, behaviour that could reasonably be interpreted as threatening, verbal or written threats, verbal abuse and physical attacks, including the attempted use of physical force.

Specific behaviours may include but not limited to:

  • hitting or shoving an individual;
  • threatening to harm an individual or his/her family, friends, associates, or their property;
  • the intentional destruction or threat of destruction of the College property;
  • making harassing or threatening telephone calls, letters, E-mail or other forms of written or electronic communications;
  • intimidating or attempting to coerce an employee/student to do wrongful acts;
  • harassing surveillance, also known as “stalking”: the willful, malicious and repeat following of another person and making a credible threat with the intent to place the other person in the reasonable fear of his/her safety.