WORKPLACE VIOLENCE POLICY AND PROCEDURES
The Freeport Memorial Library (Library) has a long-standing commitment to promoting a safe and secure work environment that promotes the achievement of its mission of serving the public. All employees of the Library are expected to maintain a working environment free from violence, threats of harassment, intimidation or coercion. While these behaviors are not prevalent at the Library, no organization is immune.
The purpose of this policy is to address the issue of potential workplace violence in our Library, and help prevent workplace violence from occurring to the fullest extent possible and set forth procedures to be followed when such violence has occurred.
The Library prohibits workplace violence. Violence, threats of violence, intimidation, harassment, coercion, or other threatening behavior towards people or property will not be tolerated. Complaints involving workplace violence will not be ignored and will be given the serious attention they deserve. Individuals who violate this policy may be removed from Library property and are subject to disciplinary and/or personnel action up to and including revocation of all privileges to enter the Library premises and/or to use any of the library facilities, consistent with Library policies, rules and collective bargaining agreements, and/or referral to law enforcement authorities for criminal prosecution. (See also Policy Rules of Behavior and Maintenance of Public Order at Library Facilities). Complaints of Discriminatory harassment (including sexual harassment) are covered under the Library’s Discriminatory Harassment Policy.
The Library, at the request of an employee, or at its own discretion, may prohibit members of the public, including family members, from seeing an employee on Library property unless necessary to transact Library -related business. This policy particularly applies in cases where the employee suspects that an act of violence will result from an encounter with said individual(s).
All employees, members of the public, vendors, contractors, consultants, and others who do business with the Library, whether at the Library facility or off-site location where Library business is conducted, are covered by this policy. This policy also applies to other persons not affiliated with the Library, such as former employees, and visitors. When employees have complaints about other employees, they should contact their supervisor immediately.
Definition of Workplace Violence
Workplace violence is any behavior that is violent, threatens violence, coerces, harasses or intimidates others, interferes with an individual’s legal rights of movement or expression, or disrupts the workplace, the work environment, or the Library’s ability to provide services to the public. Examples of workplace violence include, but are not limited to:
- Disruptive behavior or any disorderly conduct that disturbs, interferes with or prevents normal work activities (such as yelling, using profanity, verbally abusing others, staring with intent to annoy, or waving arms and fists)Intentional physical contact for the purpose of causing harm (such as slapping, punching, striking, shoving, kicking or any other form of assault or other physical attack).
- Menacing or threatening behavior (such as throwing objects, pounding on a desk or door, damaging property, stalking, harassing, or otherwise acting aggressively; or making oral or written statements specifically intended to frighten, coerce, or threaten) where a reasonable person would interpret such behavior as constituting evidence of intent to cause harm to individuals or property.
- Possessing firearms, imitation firearms, knives or other dangerous weapons, instruments or materials. No one within the Freeport Memorial Library shall have in their possession a firearm or other dangerous weapon, instrument or material that can be used to inflict bodily harm on an individual or damage to Library property without specific written authorization from the Director regardless of whether the individual possesses a valid permit to carry the firearm or weapon.
Attached hereto are
Addendum A. Discriminatory Harassment Policy
Reporting of Incidents
1. General Reporting Responsibilities
Incidents of workplace violence, threats of workplace violence, or observations of workplace violence are not to be ignored by any employee of the Library. Workplace violence should promptly be reported to the appropriate Library Administrator (see below). Additionally, employees are encouraged to report behavior that they reasonably believe pose a potential for workplace violence as defined above. It is important that all employees of the Library take this responsibility seriously to effectively maintain a safe working and learning environment.
2. Imminent or Actual Violence
In situations where an employee is experiencing or witnessing imminent danger or actual violence involving weapons or personal injury, the employee should activate the panic button, call 911 and then notify his or her supervisor immediately.
3. Acts of Violence Not Involving Weapons or Injuries to Persons
Any person who is the subject of a suspected violation of this policy involving violence without weapons or personal injury, or is a witness to such suspected violation, should report the incident to his or her supervisor, or in lieu thereof, to the Freeport Police. The Freeport Police will work with the Library on an appropriate response.
4. Commission of a Crime
All individuals who believe a crime has been committed against them have the right, and are encouraged, to report the incident to the Freeport Police.
5. False Reports
Employees of the Library who make false and malicious complaints of workplace violence (as opposed to those who make complaints which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith) will be subject to disciplinary action and/or referral to civil authorities as appropriate.
6. Incident Reports
The Library will report incidents of workplace violence consistent with the Library’s policies.
The Director shall be responsible for the implementation of this policy. The responsibility includes dissemination of this policy to all Library employees, ensuring appropriate investigation and follow-up of all alleged incidents of workplace violence, and ensuring that all administrators and supervisors are aware of their responsibilities under this policy through internal communications and training.
The Library shall conduct a risk evaluation to determine the potential dangers that employees may face from workplace violence risks. While workplace violence may occur in any workplace setting, certain employment settings may pose higher risks, including:
Duties that involve the exchange of money and imposition of fines, penalties and suspensions
Working alone or in small numbers
Working late evening hours
Security and maintenance of public order duties
Working in community-based settings
Uncontrolled access to the workplace.
The Library shall perform a risk evaluation of the workplace to determine the presence of factors or situations that might place employees at risk from occupational workplace violence.
2. Safety Coordinator – Assistant Director
The Safety Coordinator is responsible for the activities of the Library Monitors (who maintain order in the library), and is responsible for responding to, intervening, and documenting all incidents of violence in the workplace. The Safety Coordinator will maintain an internal tracking system of all threats and incidents of violence.
The Safety Coordinator is responsible for assisting the Freeport Police and supervisors in responding to workplace violence; facilitating appropriate responses to reported incidents of workplace violence; notifying the Freeport Police of workplace violence incidents reported to that office; and consulting with, as necessary, counseling services to secure professional intervention.
The Safety Coordinator is responsible for providing new employees with a copy of the Workplace Violence Policy and Procedures and insuring that employees receive appropriate training. The Safety Coordinator will also be responsible for annually disseminating this policy to all employees.
3. Supervisor/Department Head
Each, Department Head or other person with supervisory responsibility (hereinafter “supervisor”) is responsible within his/her area of jurisdiction for the implementation of this policy. Supervisors must report to the Safety Coordinator any complaint of workplace violence made to him/her and any other incidents of workplace violence of which he/she becomes aware or reasonably believes to exist.
Supervisors are expected to inform their immediate supervisor promptly about any complaints, acts, or threats of violence even if the situation has been addressed and resolved. After having reported such complaint or incident to the Safety Coordinator and immediate supervisor, the supervisor should keep it confidential and not disclose it further, except as necessary during the investigation process and/or subsequent proceedings.
Supervisors are required to contact the Freeport Police immediately in the event of imminent or actual violence involving weapons or potential physical injuries.
Employees must report workplace violence, as defined above, to their supervisor. Recurring or persistent workplace violence that an employee reasonably believes is not being addressed satisfactorily, or violence that is, or has been, engaged in by the employee’s supervisor should be brought to the attention of the immediate Supervisor.
Employees who have obtained Orders of Protection are expected to notify their supervisor, the Safety Coordinator, and the Freeport Police of any orders that list Library locations as protected areas.
Victims of domestic violence who believe the violence may extend into the workplace, or employees who believe that domestic or other personal matters may result in their being subject to violence extending into the workplace, are encouraged to notify their supervisor, or the Safety Coordinator/ Freeport Police.
Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible.
Upon hiring, and annually thereafter, employees will receive copies of this policy. Additionally, the policy will be posted in the Library and be placed on the Library’s website, as appropriate.
Education and Training
Supervisors are responsible for the dissemination and enforcement of this policy as described herein, as well as for providing opportunities for training in the prevention and awareness of workplace violence at the time of initial assignment. Additionally, annual training will be provided for all employees.
Department heads and employees will also be trained in reducing conflicts by developing skills in negotiations, effective communication, team building, conflict resolution, and developing skills in non-violent self-defense responses.
The Library shall review background of applicants for employment, within the framework of the Nassau County Civil Service Commission.
The Library shall maintain the confidentiality of investigations of workplace violence to the extent possible. The Library will act on the basis of anonymous complaints where it has a reasonable basis to believe that there has been a violation of this policy and that the safety and well being of employees of the Library would be served by such action.
No retaliation will be taken against an employee who, acting in good faith, has made a complaint of workplace violence, who has reported witnessing workplace violence, or who has been involved in reporting, investigating, or responding to workplace violence. If any employee (including supervisors) is found to be responsible for retaliatory action, that employee will be subject to discipline up to and including termination.
Adopted by: the Board of Library Trustees May 16, 2007