Violence in the Workplace

Workplace violence often begins with inappropriate behavior or signs that, when detected and reported, may help prevent its occurrence. The following information may be helpful in detecting or anticipating workplace violence and help to create a safer, healthier workplace for everyone.


If violence occurs or there is an immediate threat of violence:

    1. Leave the area immediately if possible. If this is not possible, try to lock yourself in a secure area with a phone or cell phone.
    2. If possible, dial 911 or the local police number.
    Give the police as many details as possible on the phone so that they can respond appropriately.


Examples of Workplace Violence:

  • Threats, direct or implied
  • Physical conduct such as pushing, shoving or striking that harms or has the potential to harm people or property.
  • Conduct that harasses, disrupts or interferes with another individual's performance.
  • Conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment. Potential Warning Signs:
  • Verbal, nonverbal or written threats
  • Fascination with weapons or violence
  • New or increased stress at home or at work
  • Expressions of hopelessness or anxiety
  • Insubordinate behavior
  • Dramatic change in work performance
  • Destruction of property
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Externalization of blame


Risk Factors that Contribute to Workplace Violence

  • Termination of employment
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Ongoing conflicts between employees
  • Domestic or family violence
  • Financial problems


Workplace Violence Prevention

  • Be aware of what its going on around you at all times. Awareness is a proven method for increased personal safety
  • Tell your supervisor when you notice unusual or suspicious behavior.
  • Attend a violence prevention seminar that includes training in conflict resolution and positive ways of dealing with hostile individuals. These are offered by the University Counseling Center.
  • Refer employees exhibiting inappropriate behavior to the university’s Employee Assistance Program or the UVM Personal Safety Response Team.
  • Do not hesitate to call UVM Police Services for planning help at (802) 656-3473


Remember: A safe workplace is everyone's responsibility.