How to File a Workplace Violence Complaint

Violence in the workplace always should be reported.
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Many factors within an organization can lead to workplace violence including stress, increased workloads, lack of job security and mismanagement. According to Occupational Health and Safety Management, an attacker typically displays similar characteristics, such as a violent past, difficult childhood, substance abuse or mental illness. Certain circumstances also can trigger some individuals to participate in violence including having access to firearms. If you are a victim of workplace violence, you should report it immediately.

For Employees

    Step 1

    Tell your supervisor immediately when violence in the workplace occurs. If it involves illegal behavior, immediately dial 911 to contact your local law enforcement.

    Step 2

    Give as many details about the incident as possible. Be prepared to tell what caused the incident and who was involved. If you were a witness and you have called law enforcement, they may ask for a signed statement. They also can subpoena you in court as a witness if needed. If the violence doesn’t require law enforcement such as an abusive verbal argument, you should provide details to management what happened so they can take appropriate action.

    Step 3

    File an incident report with the human resources department. In some cases, your supervisor may be the one to do this. The human resources department can tell you what forms you need to fill out, and tell you if need to talk to anybody else.

    Step 4

    Report the incident to OSHA if your employer fails to address the measure to protect you. File a complaint at your local office. You will need to fill out paperwork, which also can be printed online and faxed.

    Step 5

    Keep all documents from the police and any forms you filled out. You may need the papers at a later time if you decide to sue your employer for lack of protection.

For Employers

    Step 1

    Learn to recognize warning signs to avoid violence before it occurs. Conditions that can trigger violent episodes can include fear of unemployment and increased workloads. Encourage employees to not provoke one another, especially during stressful times.

    Step 2

    Address any reports of harassment immediately. Monitor employees and encourage them to come to you when situations arise. Encourage diversity and the importance of individual differences.

    Step 3

    Implement a policy against workplace harassment. Communicate zero-tolerance in respect to violence and harassment within the workplace. Teach this policy along with the code of conduct for your company. Everyone should sign the policies and be aware of consequences of violations, which can include termination.

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