Workplace Violence Policy

Workplace Violence Policy


Vice President of Administration or Chief Operations Officer


Director of Safety and Security


Safety and Security



Effective Date:


Implementation History:

06/08/2022, 09/30/20, 05/06/10


Workplace Violence

Background Information:

This policy was drafted in 2010 for compliance with 12 NYCRR Part 800.6 and Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The policy was updated in 2022 to better define the scope and procedures of the policy.


It is the purpose of this policy to ensure that the risk of workplace harassment and assault is evaluated by the university and that the university designs and implements protection programs to minimize the hazard of workplace violence to employees.


Employee: For purposes of this policy, employees are considered someone who is on the payroll as an employee of SUNY Empire State University.

Employer: SUNY Empire State University (the University)

Retaliatory Action: The discharge, suspension, demotion, penalization or discrimination against any employee, or other adverse employment action taken against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment.

Serious physical harm: Physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes death or serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ or a sexual offense as defined in Article 130 of the Penal Law.

Supervisor: Any person within the employer’s organization who has the authority to direct and control the work performance of an employee, or who has the authority to take corrective action regarding the violation of a law, rule or regulation to which an employee submits written notice.

University sponsored activity: Any activity that occurs on university owned or leased property, including vehicles; performed while an employee is on duty; or is sponsored by the university, or by a student sponsored organization. This includes professional meetings attended by employees that the campus authorizes and/or use any campus resources.

Workplace Violence: Any physical assault or acts of aggressive behavior occurring where and when an employee performs any work-related duty in the course of his or her employment including University sponsored activities. Workplace Violence includes, but is not limited to: 

(i) An attempt or threat, whether verbal or physical, to inflict physical injury upon an employee.

(ii) Any intentional display of force which would give an employee reason to fear or expect bodily harm;

(iii) Intentional and wrongful physical contact with a person without his or her consent that entails some injury;

(iv) Stalking an employee with the intent of causing fear of material harm to the physical safety and health of such employee when such stalking has arisen through and in the course of employment.


The University is committed to providing a safe work environment for all employees and students. The University responds promptly to complaints of Workplace Violence against employees by coworkers, students, or members of the public. This policy sets forth standards for employee conduct, guidelines for reasonable precautions and outlines appropriate responses to Workplace Violence should they occur. This policy is in accordance with state and federal laws regarding workplace safety.

The University will address any complaint of Workplace Violence.

Any individual who makes threats of violence, implied or direct, on university owned or leased property during any University sponsored activity may be subject to removal from the premises or removal from the activity.

Targeting victims with the intent to cause harm intentionally because of actual or perceived race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability will be considered hate or bias crimes, and are addressed by the University’s policy of Bias Related Crime.

In accordance with the SUNY Empire Firearms Policy, Empire State University prohibits any person from possessing firearms at any University facility or University-sponsored activity without the written authorization of the University President.

Prohibited Conduct

The University prohibits any conduct as defined in the definition of Workplace Violence. Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  1. the use of force with the intent to cause physical harm or serious physical harm
  2. acts or threats that are intended to intimidate, harass, threaten, coerce, or cause fear of harm whether directly or indirectly.
  3. acts or threats made directly or indirectly by oral or written words, gestures or symbols that communicate a direct or indirect threat of physical or mental harm. 

Interim Measures

The University may implement interim measures when needed to stabilize the situation, prevent continuing misconduct, support the parties involved, and protect the integrity of an investigation.  Whenever possible, interim measures will be structured so they do not disproportionately impact either party.  The Associate Director of Community Standards and Engagement will work with the Director of Safety and Security to develop and implement interim measures for students in accordance with the Student Conduct Policy (see section D).  Interim measures involving employees in collective bargaining units should be determined in consultation with the human resources or employee relations department. If the Workplace Violence activities involve an outside party not associated with the University, the Director of Safety and Security will determine the appropriate measures in consultation with the President and/or local police enforcement.

Workplace Violence Prevention Program

 The University has a written workplace violence prevention program that includes:

a definition of workplace violence.

techniques on how to recognize and avoid workplace violence situations.

The importance of reporting all workplace violence incidents and the procedure to do so.

Information and Training for Employees

 The University Workplace Violence Policy and Prevention Response Procedures is readily available to all employees available on the University website and upon request through the Office of Safety and Security.

At the time of initial appointment and annually thereafter, the University provides employees with information regarding risks of violence within the workplace that includes:

  • the requirements of NYS Labor Law § 27-b4.
  • some risk factors in the workplace, as supplied by the Office of Safety and Security.
  • the location and availability of the written Workplace Violence Prevention Program that would identify measures individuals can take to protect themselves from such risks, including specific safety procedures implemented to protect the University community.


Retaliatory action against anyone acting in good faith who 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 is a violation of this policy. Those found responsible will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with University policy and the applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Responsibilities of the Office of Safety and Security

  • Conduct a risk evaluation by examining the workplace for potential hazards related to workplace violence with an authorized employee representative (if there is one).
  • Develop a workplace violence prevention program
  • Provide training and information for employees around the workplace violence prevention program, including any risk factors identified and what employees can do to protect themselves.
  • Document workplace violence incidents and maintain those records.
  • Annually review all workplace violence incidences with an authorized employee representative (if there is one) to determine what, if any, changes need to be made to the program or identified risk factors.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

NYS Labor Law § 27-b

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices


All employees should become familiar with the University Incident Reporting Policy and Procedures, which are summarized on the University’s Safety and Security webpage.

Reporting Procedures:

Incidents of workplace violence, threats of workplace violence, or observations of workplace violence are not to be ignored by any member of the University community. Workplace violence should be immediately reported in accordance with the Incident Reporting Policy and Procedures.

Additionally, all members of the University community are encouraged to report behavior they reasonably believe poses a potential for workplace violence to maintain a safe working and learning environment by notifying the Director of Safety and Security at 518-580-2900 or ext. 2900.

If an incident report is completed by Safety & Security or a local police agency, Safety & Security will forward a copy to the appropriate departments (Human Resources, Student Conduct, etc.), as applicable.

Preventive Measures:

All employees and students are encouraged to help to maintain a safe work and educational environment and are urged to take reasonable precautions to prevent violence and other unsafe conditions in the workplace and report indicators of increased risk of violent behavior.

An employee shall notify his/her supervisor, the Office of Human Resources and Safety & Security whenever a Court protective order is issued naming a University employee or a person attending the University as a respondent/accused person. Every effort will be made to protect the privacy and sensitivity of the information provided.

Note: Nothing in this policy precludes an employee from notifying the entities described above if the respondent/accused person is not a University employee or student.

If an employee believes that domestic or other personal matters may result in violence extending into the workplace, they are encouraged to notify their supervisor and the Office of Safety and Security. Every effort will be made to protect the privacy and sensitivity of the information provided.


  • Each supervisor is responsible within his/her area of responsibility for the implementation of this policy.
  • Campus Security Authorities, as defined by the University’s Criminal Incident Reporting Policy and Procedures is responsible for reporting acts of Clery Reportable Crimes to the Director of Safety and Security.
  • All employees are encouraged and expected to assist the Director of Safety and Security and police in responding to workplace violence incidents.
  • Supervisors that receive a notice of or observe incidents of Workplace Violence shall notify the Office of Safety and Security at 518-580-2900 or ext. 2900, and/or local authorities (if appropriate).
  • All employees should recommend policy modifications, new policies, training issues, or security concerns, as required.

Other Assigned Offices:

  • The Office of Human Resources provides new employees with a copy of the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy and Response Procedures, at the time of appointment.
  • The Office of Human Resources maintains a record of Orders of Protection and notifies the Office of Safety and Security.
  • The Office of Safety and Security and the Office of Human Resources, conducts employee training to include awareness and prevention of workplace violence.
  • The Office of Safety and Security investigates and communicates the incidents to other University officials, as required.

Related Referenced, Policies and Procedures

Student Conduct Policy

SUNY Bias-Related Crime Prevention Policy

Bias-Related Crime and Hate Crime

Firearms Policy

NYS Labor Law § 27-b

Empire State University Incident Reporting Procedures