Workplace Violence Policy

Title

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Workplace Violence Policy

Introduction

Purpose

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ("University") is committed to promoting a safe and healthy campus environment that is free from violence. Violent acts, whether on-duty or off-duty, affect individual and community physical and mental well-being, employees' ability to perform their jobs, and students' ability to learn. The purpose of this Policy is to establish preventative measures, hold perpetrators of violence accountable, and support individuals affected by Workplace Violence.

Scope of Applicability

This Policy applies to all employees1, contractors, visitors, or other third parties within the University's control, regardless of appointment type. This Policy applies to the conduct of an employee while functioning in the scope of employment on or off campus as well as off-duty conduct that has potential adverse impact on the University and its employees, students, clients, visitors, and vendors.

Nothing in this Policy is intended to restrict any rights that would otherwise be protected from government action by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Applicable Procedures

Policy

Policy Statement

It is a violation of this Policy to:

  • Engage in Workplace Violence as defined by this Policy;
  • Possess, use, or Threaten to use an unauthorized Weapon as defined by this Policy and during a time covered by this Policy2;
  • Misuse authority vested in any employee of the University in such a way that it violates this Policy;
  • Engage in Retaliation, as defined by this Policy; and
  • Deliberately report false, misleading, or frivolous claims of Workplace Violence with the intent to harass another, or to otherwise abuse the reporting process under this Policy.

Violations of this Policy are considered unacceptable personal conduct as provided in applicable disciplinary policies and may be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. For acts of off-duty violent conduct, department management, in consultation with the appropriate University administrative unit, must demonstrate that the disciplinary action is supported by a reasonable connection between the misconduct and the potential adverse impact on the University and its employees, students, visitors, and/or others in the University community.

Exceptions

Some employees may be required as a condition of their work assignment to possess a Weapon or are permitted to carry one as authorized by law.

An employee may possess a Weapon if possession is:

  1. In compliance with North Carolina law;
  2. Authorized by the Chancellor or designee;
  3. Used by an employee who is a certified law enforcement officer;
  4. Required as a part of the employee’s job duties with the University; or
  5. Connected with training received by the employee in order to perform the responsibilities of their job with the University.

Reporting and Responding to Reports of Workplace Violence

Reporting

If there is an active emergency and/or immediate risk of safety to any University community member or a Threat to University property, individuals must immediately dial 911 and/or contact UNC Police.

Individuals should report any incident or potential incident of Workplace Violence to UNC Police, their supervisor, and/or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office as soon as it is safe to do so.

Any administrator, supervisor, manager, human resources professional, or other individual who is a designated Responsible Employee who receives a report of Workplace Violence, either directly or indirectly, must notify the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office as soon as possible.

The Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office has sole authority to conduct investigations and oversee resolutions for reports of Workplace Violence under this Policy. If the report includes allegations that could potentially violate other University policies, the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office will coordinate with appropriate units to maximize efficiency, minimize disruption, and impart a prompt and appropriate resolution by the University. 

As a matter of University policy and North Carolina state law, any individual who reasonably suspects that a minor has experienced child abuse, neglect or a violent offense (per North Carolina General Statute § 14-318.6) by a parent, guardian, caretaker, peer, non-custodial adult or an employee has an absolute obligation to report that suspicion to law enforcement, Child Protective Services, and the University's Protection of Minors Coordinator in accordance with the University's  Policy on Protection of Minors

Responses and Resolutions to Reports of Workplace Violence

The Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office will respond to reports of Workplace Violence in accordance with the Procedure for Reporting and Responding to Workplace Violence. In collaboration with other campus units, the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office will assess the situation and direct immediate action as needed. Possible immediate actions include coordination with law enforcement and emergency services personnel, referral for threat assessment, and coordination with University Communications for internal communications within the University, and/or communication with family members and/or media, as appropriate.

The Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office will address reports of misconduct that fall under the University’s Policy on Prohibited Sexual Harassment Under Title IX and Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct in accordance with the procedures associated with those policies. This would include reports of Stalking, Domestic Violence, and harassment (including Bullying, Cyber-bullying and Threats) based on age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Support and Resources

The University will assist employees affected by Workplace Violence by offering available and reasonable security measures and will work with their managers to address their needs and enhance their safety. Managers must work with the Office of Human Resources to consider and develop reasonable and feasible adjustments to employee work schedules, locations, and/or working conditions when appropriate. Such adjustments could include leave time for medical, court, or counseling appointments related to trauma and/or victimization. 

Management must also work with the Office of Human Resources to help facilitate support and resources for employees affected by Workplace Violence. Resources and support available to such employees are:

Privacy

Subject to the federal and state privacy laws relating to student and personnel information as well as state public records laws, information provided in relation to reports under this Policy will be kept private. This means that information related to a report under this Policy will only be shared with those individuals who need to know in order to assist in the active review, investigation, or resolution of the report. Individuals who receive such information will be discreet and respect the privacy of all individuals involved in the process.

Definitions

Bullying is unwanted offensive and malicious behavior that undermines an individual or group through persistently negative attacks. The behavior generally includes an element of vindictiveness and is intended to undermine, patronize, humiliate, intimidate, or demean the recipient. The behavior typically is severe, pervasive, or persistent, creating a hostile work environment.

Cyberbullying occurs when an individual uses technology (e.g., the internet, cell phones, emails, IMs, text messages, blogs, pictures, videos, social media posts) to intentionally harm others through hostile behavior, as well as Threatening, disrespectful, demeaning, or intimidating messages.

Domestic Violence is the use of abusive or violent behavior, including Threats and Intimidation, between people who have an ongoing or a prior intimate relationship. This could include people who are married, divorced, separated, living or lived together, or currently or previously dated. See also the University’s definitions of Dating Violence and Domestic Violence in the Policy on Prohibited Sexual Harassment Under Title IX and definition of Interpersonal Violence in the Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct.

Intimidation is engaging in actions that include but are not limited to behavior intended to frighten, coerce, or induce duress.

Physical Attack is unwanted or hostile physical contact including but not limited to hitting, fighting, pushing, shoving, restraining, or throwing objects.

Property Damage is intentional damage to property and includes property owned by the University or by employees, students, clients, visitors, or vendors.

Reporting Party refers to any individual who may have been the subject of any Workplace Violence  under the Policy regardless of whether the Reporting Party makes a report or seeks action under the Policy. 

Responding Party refers to any individual who has been accused of violating the Policy. 

Retaliation is any adverse action or attempted action that would discourage a reasonable person from engaging in protected activity. Protected activity includes an individual's actual or perceived participation in the reporting, investigation, or resolution of an alleged violation of this Policy. Retaliation may be found even when an investigation determines there is insufficient evidence to substantiate the original report. Reports made in good faith, even if the allegations are ultimately determined to be unsubstantiated, are not considered Retaliation. Reports found to have been made frivolously or in bad faith may constitute Retaliation and/or may be considered in the sanctioning process if an individual is otherwise found responsible for a violation of the Policy. Retaliation may be committed by the Responding Party, the Reporting Party, or any other individual or group of individuals. 

Stalking involves harassing or pestering an individual in person, in writing, by telephone or through electronic format. Stalking also involves following an individual, spying on them, intentionally alarming the recipient, or intentionally causing them distress and may involve violence or the fear of violence. See also, the University’s definition of Stalking in the Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct and the Policy on Prohibited Sexual Harassment Under Title IX.

Threat (or Threatening) is the expression of intent to cause physical or mental harm. An expression constitutes a Threat without regard to whether the party communicating the Threat has the present ability to carry out the Threat and without regard to whether the expression is contingent, conditional, or future.

Weapon is a device, instrument, material, or substance used to or capable of causing death, bodily injury, or damage to property. Weapons include but are not limited to: an explosive; a device principally designed, made or adapted for delivering or shooting an explosive, chemical, biological, or radiological Weapon; a firearm such as a machine gun, rifle, shotgun, or handgun; a firearm silencer; a sharp object such as a knife or other blade; or any other device used for the infliction of or Threat of bodily injury, damage to property, or death.

Workplace Violence includes, but is not limited to: Intimidation, Bullying, Cyberbullying, Stalking, Threats, Physical Attacks, Domestic Violence, or Property Damage. This includes acts of violence committed by University employees, visitors, contractors, or other third parties within the University’s control. To be considered Workplace Violence, behavior must be more than unprofessional behavior, annoyance, irritation, or petty disagreements and must be behavior that would cause a reasonable person to have concerns for personal safety, or risks of physical injury to persons, animals, or University property. 

Related Requirements

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

External Regulations and Consequences

Footnotes

1. A University employee is defined as any faculty or staff member, whether part-time or full-time, permanent or temporary, and includes post-doctoral scholars. For the purposes of the Policy and the related procedures, employees who are also students are considered students if a condition of their employment status requires them to be students (e.g. teaching assistants, resident advisors). An individual who is both a student and an employee whose position does not require them to be a student is considered to be an employee when acting in the course of their employee duties and is considered to be a student when acting in their role as a student.

2.  See North Carolina General Statute § 14-269.2 - Weapons on Campus or Other Educational Property.

Contact Information and Resources

Policy Contacts

Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office
919-966-3576
eoc@unc.edu

Other Contacts

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
1-877-314-5841

UNC Police (General Line)
919-962-8100

UNC Emergency Hotline
919-843-1234

Police
911

Details

Article ID: 131839
Created
Thu 4/8/21 9:17 PM
Modified
Wed 4/3/24 11:30 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
04/01/2023 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Equal Opportunity and Compliance
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
04/01/2023 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
04/01/2023 12:00 AM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
03/01/2026 12:00 AM
Origination
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
08/01/1995 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Equal Opportunity and Compliance