ASIS and SHRM Provide the American National Standard for Workplace Violence & Prevention

by Dec 9, 2014

Workplace violence is any action that threatens the physical safety and/or psychological wellbeing of employees and visitors or that causes damage to company property. Violence is often categorized into three levels, as follows:

Level 1 – Verbal Aggression

  • constant refusal to cooperate
  • spreading rumors to harm others
  • being aggressively argumentative
  • belligerent behavior towards others

Level 2 – Unreasonable Behavior

  • refusal to obey company policies and procedures
  • sabotaging equipment and/or stealing property for revenge
  • sending sexual or violent notes to co-workers or management

Level 3 – Physical Acts

  • making suicidal threats
  • physical fights
  • destruction of property
  • commission of a murder, rape or arson

The workplace setting plays a key role in whether a person may become violent. Workplaces that demonstrate a lack of caring for employee well-being; do not focus on building a respectful workplace culture; do not effectively handle grievances, have ignored reports of aggressive behavior or violence; do not train managers and employees about violence; or do not show a commitment to employee safety, are certain to have incidents of level 1 violence, with the increased risk of level 2 and 3 violent acts occurring.

On the other hand, workplaces that are safe and focus on building a healthy culture of civility, that minimizes stress and that handle grievances and reports of aggression effectively, are less likely to experience workplace violence.

Sure, you can implement a policy and offer a one-hour training program on violence, for example, and hope that it stops. But my motto has always been that culture is an important piece of the equation. Culture dictates behavior, and therefore it deserves some attention when safe-guarding your workplace from incivility, bullying and violence.

Someone recently forwarded me this awesome 50 page booklet by ASIS and SHRM, so I thought I’d post it. I like this booklet because although it doesn’t specifically say so, it is focused on culture change when implementing a workplace violence prevention policy. Here are some of the highlights (with my two cents in italics):

Your policy should:

  • clearly define unacceptable behavior (you should also have a policy that clearly defines acceptable behavior too)
  • require anyone and everyone to make a prompt report of policy violations
  • provide multiple avenues for reporting those violations
  • assure confidentiality and discretion when a report is made
  • include commitment to address retaliation should it occur
  • impose consistent discipline

People involved include:

  • human resources
  • security
  • legal counsel
  • occupational safety and health personnel
  • union
  • employee assistance (EAP)
  • crisis and risk management
  • public relations

Training should include:

  • behavioral and psychological aspects of violence
  • risk factors for your specific organization
  • information about your organization’s specific policy, and rights and obligations under that policy
  • how to identify problem behavior
  • how to report problem behaviors
  • basic information about intimate partner violence
  • how to respond in an emergency
From a prevention aspect, additional training should include:
  • what positive workplace behaviors are
  • how to act in a professional and positive way
  • emotional intelligence
  • stress management
  • optimism and resilience
  • communication skills

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

What Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Really Mean

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are essential to creating a positive work environment where employees are happy and thriving. We work with organizations to assess and address any issues related to DEI, and we provide training and resources to help create a...

5 Action Items for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Building a healthy workplace where employees feel appreciated and respected requires, among other things, making it diverse and inclusive. It is essential for organizations that want to attract and retain top talent, foster innovation, and stay competitive in today's...

Toxic Work Culture: Three Behaviors That Contribute

Way before working at Civility Partners, I suffered from a toxic work culture. Even though I loved my job, it was very tiring—emotionally, mentally, and physically. The work environment was very unhealthy, and because of that, I made the best decision of my life by...

15 Tiny Habits To Kick Off Your New Year

If you’re anything like me, you kick off your New Year with all the lofty resolutions you can think of. In theory, it’s a great way to be intentional about your future. My problem in checking off those resolutions (and maybe yours, too) is twofold. First, I set...

Civility Partners 2022 Highlights!

2022 was full of learning opportunities and growth. And we had the privilege of sharing some of that knowledge with you, via our blog posts! See below for our highlight reel, in case you missed anything… *All of the resources referenced are re-linked below the video*...

In the Words of Luke Bryan…

I believe most people are good.   Working in an industry focused on toxic workplaces can often seem like the world is full of bullies and ill-intentioned people. I can imagine that working in a toxic environment could lead to similar sentiments. This is why it’s...

Can music at work constitute harassment?

After a recent webinar, a listener sent over this interesting article about a former Tesla employee who’s asking the US District Court of Nevada to agree with her claim that the “obscene and misogynistic rap music” played on site and the resulting actions of her...

Tis’ the Season of Thanks!

It’s the season of thanks and we want to recognize everyone we’re thankful for! We are so thankful to our clients, friends, families, pets, and awesome blog readers like you! We are thankful you take the time to read our content, and even more importantly, deliver on...

4 Ways to Level Up Your Delegation Skills

According to research by The Strategic Thinking Institute, 96% of leaders struggle with finding enough time for strategic work in their roles. They find themselves doing the daily tasks of the job, instead of thinking strategically about the business and taking the...

4 Ways To Overcome Loneliness in a Remote World

Written by: Suzzane Dickman-Perla   When the world first went into lockdown a couple of years ago, I was thrilled with the idea of working from home. Finally! No more waking up at 5am to make the two-hour commute to work. I could wear what I wanted and spend as...