A-Z Index

Work Place Violence

Violence At Work Prevention Plan

Northwest Missouri State University is concerned about the safety of its employees and is committed to maintaining a work environment that is secure and free from incidents of violence. The University will not tolerate incidents of violence because such incidents are contrary to and interfere with University objectives. The University will give immediate attention and serious consideration to all repots of incidents of violence and initiate appropriate actions.

Our policy defines violence as any of the following: unwelcome forceful physical touching, intimidating, threatening or hostile actions; intimidating, threatening or hostile communications, whether verbal, nonverbal, or written, made in person, by mail, telephone, computer, facsimile or any other means; vandalism; arson; sabotage; throwing objectives; unauthorized possession or use of a weapon on University property or any other similar acts or communications.

Northwest has established an Ombudsman that is responsible for the overall implementation and maintenance of Northwest's violence at work prevention plan. After University Police responds to the threat or act of violence, the Ombudsman shall investigate the incident. The Ombudsman along with the directors of Human Resources Management, the Counseling Center and University Police shall also be charged with reviews of violent incidents to identify ways in which similar incidents can be prevented. The Ombudsman shall also coordinate all critical incident debriefings of students, staff or faculty that are affected the incident.

The EEO Officer shall carry out the duties as the Ombudsman for the University. The Ombudsman shall be assisted by the directors of Human Resources Management, the Counseling Center and University Police with the implementation and maintenance of the plan.

All Northwest employees are required to immediately report any acts or threats of violence occurring at Northwest to the Ombudsman, University Police or to Human Resources. All employees and students who apply for or obtain a protective or restraining order (Ex Parte, Full Order of Protection, Child Protection Order) which list Northwest property as being protected areas, must provide University Police with a copy of the order.

  • Any threat or act of violence must immediately be reported to the Department of University Police (562-1254 or 911).
  • Acts or threats of violence will be investigated by the University Police Department and/or the Ombudsman in a timely manner. The Ombudsman, in conjunction with the director of Human Resources Management and the Counseling Center director shall recommend a plan of action with regard to the employee(s) in question.(See Investigative Process)
  • Disciplinary action up to and including termination will result for anyone who violates the University Violence at Work Prevention Plan.

The Ombudsman and the employee's department, both to protect the employee as well as the University, shall carefully maintain record keeping and documentation. Every effort will be used to maintain the employee's right to privacy. In cases where other employees are considered potentially in danger, the unit's supervisor, in consultation with the Ombudsman, will convey a warning to the employee(s) involved and provide notice to the University Police Department.

Recognizing Early Warning Signals

Includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Any threats of harm, verbal or nonverbal
  • Intimidation of others by words or actions
  • Carrying a concealed weapon or flashing a weapon to test reactions
  • Hypersensitivity or extreme suspiciousness
  • Extreme moral righteousness
  • Unable to take criticism of job performance
  • Holds a grudge, especially against a supervisor
  • Often verbalizes hope for something to happen to the person against whom the employee has the grudge
  • Expression of extreme desperation over recent problems
  • History of violent behavior
  • Extreme interest in weapons and their destructive power to people
  • Fascination with incidents of workplace violence and approval of the use of violence under similar circumstances
  • Intentional disregard for the safety of others
  • Destruction of property

Each one of the above could cause concern but a combination of these items requires action.

Investigative Process

When an employee reports an incident, a thorough investigation will take place. This section outlines the process that will be taken in conducting an investigation after a complaint has been filed.

All parties involved, witness, and other people who might have some knowledge of the parties involved will be asked the following questions in order to gain information:

  • WHO - Who was the perpetrator of the incident and who else was present as a witness to the incident?
  • WHAT - Exactly what happened? The "what" of a report includes all of the facts and may also include your assessment of those facts.
  • WHEN - When did the incident occur? If there were smaller events leading up to the main incident you are describing, when did those events occur?
  • WHERE - Where did this incident happen?

All of the material and statements that are gathered will be analyzed and a confidential report shall be formulated. Follow-up recommendations will be made in a summary meting to victims and suspects and their outcomes will be noted in the report. Any evidence will be collected and stored in the evidence room at University Police. All Northwest students who are perpetrators will be referred to the Office of Student Affairs.

Suggested Guidelines "Dos? and ?Do Not's"

  • Do project calmness: move and speak slowly, quietly and confidently.
  • Do focus your attention on the person to let them know you are interested in what they have to say.
  • Do maintain a relaxed yet attentive posture and position yourself at a right angle to the person.
  • Do acknowledge the feelings of the other person. Indicate that you can see he or she is upset.
  • Do Not use styles of communication, that generate hostility such as apathy, "brush off", coldness, going strictly by the rules, or giving the "run-around".
  • Do Not reject all of the person's demands from the start.
  • Do Not make sudden movements that can be seen as threatening. Notice the tone, volume, and rate of your speech.
  • Do Not make sudden movements that can be seen as threatening. Notice the tone, volume, and rate of your speech.
  • Do Not challenge, threaten, or dare the person. Never belittle the person or make him or her feel foolish.
  • Do Not try to make the situation seem less serious than it is.
  • Do Not invade their personal space. Make sure there is a space of 3' to 6' between you and the other person.

Violence at Work Response Directory

If urgent:
University Police Department 660.562.1254/911

For help and information on non-urgent threats, call:
Ombudsman/EEO Officer 660.562.1110
Human Resources Management 660.562.1127
Counseling Center 660.562.1220