9.6 Workplace Violence


Incidents of violence in the American workplace have come under increasing public attention in recent years.  While such incidents have been rare at Wayne State University, the university wishes to do everything possible to anticipate and prevent such problems from arising.  It is the goal of the Wayne State University Workplace Violence Policy to eliminate threats and acts of violence and to communicate the university's commitment to a policy of  "zero tolerance" for threats or acts of violence by anyone on university property or at university-sponsored activities.  Violation of this policy may lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal in the case of employees, expulsion in the case of students, and/or other appropriate action including denial of access to the university and university resources in the case of others.

Faculty, staff and students are accountable both to civil authorities and to the university for acts which constitute violations of both law and this policy.  In such instances, disciplinary action at the university will normally proceed while civil or criminal charges involving the same incident are pending.  Disciplinary action taken under this policy will not be subject to challenge on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the same incident have been invoked, dismissed, or are pending.


Wayne State University is committed to providing a work and educational environment which is free from threats, assaults or acts of violence.  No person will be allowed to harass or assault any other person by exhibiting violent behavior including, but not limited to, the following:

Verbal Harassment: Verbal threats to engage in violence against persons or property.

Physical Harassment or Assault: Physical or sexual assault by any means with or without a weapon, including hitting, pushing, kicking, holding, or unlawfully impeding or blocking the movement of another person, or nonverbal threats of violence against persons or property.

In support of this policy, the university will not tolerate any threat, direct or implied, of physical harm to persons or property, or which harasses, disrupts or interferes with another's work performance, or which creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile work or educational environment.

The university prohibits certain items from being brought onto university property.  Those prohibited items include: all types of firearms, switchblade knives, knives with a blade length of more than 3 inches, explosives and any other object carried for the purpose of injuring or intimidating.

University personnel are expected to notify appropriate management personnel of any threats of violence, which they have witnessed or received.  Personnel should also report any behavior they have witnessed which they regard as threatening or violent, when that behavior is work-related or is carried out on university property or is connected to university employment.

Any individual who has obtained a personal protection or restraining order which identifies the workplace as being a protected area should provide that information to the Department of Public Safety.

Disciplinary action for violation of this policy shall be taken pursuant to existing policies and procedures applicable to the individual who has engaged in the alleged violation.  Violation of this policy shall be a separate ground for disciplinary action under such policies and procedures.  In the event of such disciplinary action, violation of this policy shall be deemed to be a major violation, subject to the imposition of any sanction authorized under such policies and procedures, and not requiring that the University engage in progressive discipline prior to the imposition of such sanction.

Nothing in this policy shall be deemed to preclude disciplinary action for other actions which interfere with the effective functioning of the workplace or which otherwise create an intimidating, offensive or hostile work or educational environment.


In the event of serious incidents, the following procedure should be immediately implemented:




  1. Notify Public Safety and supervisor or next in charge of any threat, assault or acts of violence.

  2. Notify Emergency Medical Service if needed.


  1. Instruct all persons to evacuate area or take cover but remain available to participate in investigation.

  2. Notify Public Safety and inform them to notify Emergency Medical Services, if needed.

  3. Secure area and maintain crowd and traffic control until Public Safety personnel arrive.  Consider additional security measures.

Public Safety

  1. Detain, restrain and/or escort suspect from the scene.

  2. Administer first aid and triage medical assistance, as needed.

  3. Secure area and preserve evidence.

  4. Conduct investigations.

  5. Notify President, Sr. Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief of Staff.

Chief of Staff

  1. Inform Marketing and Communications.

  2. Convene the Crisis Management Team as defined in the Crisis Communications Management Manual.

Marketing and Communications

  1. Prepare news releases and answer media concerns.

  2. Begin appropriate communications with other employees.

Human Resources/ Employee Assistance Program

  1. Arrange for critical incident debriefing.

  2. Advise employees of Employee Assistance Program services/benefits.

  3. Provide crisis counseling, as needed.

  4. Perform post incident review with Crisis Management Team.

In all cases not requiring immediate crisis intervention, the following procedure should be followed:




  1. Advise supervisor of threat or incident immediately


  1. Review complaint.

  2. Immediately investigate complaint by gathering information and supporting documentation from all appropriate university personnel.  Obtain timely written statements from all parties and witnesses to incident.  

  3. Notify Vice President, Dean or Director through the appropriate organizational channels of the incident.

  4. Notify Public Safety to report findings immediately.

  5. Notify and provide copy of written statements to Labor Relations for represented, non-academic personnel; Employment Services for non-represented personnel, and Academic Affairs for represented faculty and academic staff personnel.

  6. In circumstances where a manager has a reason to believe that it is in the best interest to have a public safety officer on hand, he manager may make advance arrangements with Public Safety to have an officer on site.

Public Safety

  1. Respond and take appropriate actions, which may include some or all of the following:

    1. Assess risk

    2. Contain ongoing situation

    3. Diffuse - Restore order

    4. Isolate the parties involved

    5. Control the scene for evidence collector

    6. Negotiations

    7. De-escalation

    8. Physical intervention

    9. Custody arrest

    10. Crisis Center commitment

    11. Transportation - escort from the scene

  2. Notify Marketing and Communications personnel as appropriate.

  3. In non-criminal incidents, assist in providing the proper environment in which supervisors and managers may deal with the personnel related issues involved in the incident.  Public Safety personnel will not investigate disciplinary matters, only criminal incidents.

  4. In criminal incidents investigate for the purpose of preparing for prosecution of the case in court.  (Note: Line management must conduct a separate investigation for employment related purposes and should not expect access to the police investigation).

  5. Public Safety will provide assistance, if determined appropriate, should a manager believe their assistance may be needed.

Labor Relations

  1. For represented, non-academic personnel advise and counsel department relative to conduct of investigation (including possibility of medical/psychiatric examinations) and appropriate discipline.

Employment Services

  1. For non-represented personnel advise and counsel department relative to conduct of investigation (including possibility of medical/psychiatric examinations) and appropriate discipline.

Faculty Relations

  1. For represented faculty and academic staff advise and counsel department relative to conduct of investigation (including possibility of medical/psychiatric examinations) and appropriate discipline