6.15 Workplace Violence

The University is strongly committed to providing a safe workplace. The University does not expect employees to become experts in psychology or to physically subdue a threatening or violent individual. Indeed, the University specifically discourages employees from engaging in any physical confrontation with a violent or potentially violent individual. However, the University does expect and encourage employees to exercise reasonable judgment in identifying potentially dangerous situations.

Experts in the mental health profession state that prior to engaging in acts of violence, troubled individuals often exhibit one or more of the following behaviors or signs: over-resentment, anger and hostility; extreme agitation; making ominous threats such as bad things will happen to a particular person or a catastrophic event will occur; sudden and significant decline in work performance; irresponsible, irrational, intimidating, aggressive or otherwise inappropriate behavior; reacting to questions with an antagonistic or overtly negative attitude; discussing weapons and their use and/or brandishing weapons in the workplace; overreacting or reacting harshly to changes in University policies and procedures; personality conflicts with co-workers; obsession or preoccupation with a co-worker or supervisor; attempts to sabotage the work or equipment of a co-worker; blaming others for mistakes and circumstances; or demonstrating a propensity to behave and react irrationally.

Prohibited Conduct

Threats, threatening language or any other acts of aggression or violence made toward or by any University employee WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. For purposes of this policy, a threat includes any verbal or physical harassment or abuse, any attempt at intimidating or instilling fear in others, menacing gestures, flashing of weapons, stalking or any other hostile, aggressive, injurious, or destructive action undertaken for the purpose of domination or intimidation.

Any employee who makes threats, exhibits threatening behavior or acts of intimidation, or engages in violent acts on University premises will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

The University prohibits employees, students, patients, and visitors from possessing any firearm or any components which can readily be assembled into a firearm while on University premises, with the exception of the University Police Department and as expressly permitted in the University's Dangerous Weapons and Firearms Policy.  Any such weapon or firearm will be confiscated, and violation will be subject to the appropriate legal and disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Safety and security in the workplace require the cooperation of all employees. Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisor or department head of any threats which are witnessed, or received, or any behavior they have witnessed which is regarded as threatening or violent, when the behavior is job related or might occur on University premises.

Questions relating to this policy may be referred to your Human Resources Office. If you have a concern which you feel requires immediate action, please contact the University Police/Security Department at the appropriate site.

USA Health:  Violence towards a health care worker is considered a felony in the State of Alabama. Refer to the following USA Health polices which provide additional information on this topic:

Workplace Violence Policy

Violent or Disorderly Patients/Visitors

Active Shooter Policy