Date Established: 11/4/2010
Date Last Updated: 10/18/2021
Human Resources - Employee Relations
Vice President for Finance and Administration
The University at Buffalo is committed to providing a safe work environment in which the dignity of everyone is respected, the free exchange of ideas is encouraged, and all individuals are able to flourish. The university will respond promptly to threats, acts of violence, bullying, and acts of aggression by employees or against employees by coworkers, members of the public, students, or others.
The University at Buffalo (UB, university) is committed to providing a safe work environment for all employees and will not tolerate any act or threat of violence made in the workplace, on university property, or by an employee while conducting university business. The university will respond promptly to threats, acts of violence, bullying, and acts of aggression by employees or against employees by coworkers, members of the public, students, or others. Violent conduct, bullying conduct, or any threat of violence, implied or direct, is prohibited. This includes conduct on university property as well as off-campus conduct, whether in person or electronic (e.g., phone, text, email, social media), in connection with university business or that could impact an employee’s work environment. Prohibited conduct includes but is not limited to:
Behaviors that violate this policy may also violate other applicable policies (e.g., Discrimination and Harassment Policy, Computing and Network Use Policy, school-level learning environment policies).
In accordance with New York State (NYS) Penal Law NYSPL 265.01(3), it is illegal to carry or possess any type of firearm on university property, regardless of whether an individual has a permit or not. An individual may not carry, possess, or use any dangerous instrument or weapon (e.g., firearms, explosives, other weapons, dangerous chemicals) on any property owned or controlled by the university without appropriate university authorization. Lawful possession of a firearm from a valid, approved telecommute location is permitted; however, the worktime carrying or use of such firearm(s) is prohibited.
The Workplace Violence Advisory Team (comprised of representatives from Employee Relations (ER), University Police Department (UPD), Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), and State and Research Foundation (RF) Benefits Administration) will:
The university will provide the following information and training on the risks of violence in the workplace at employee orientation and annually thereafter:
Employees in situations of workplace violence that involve an imminent threat should contact University Police.
Situations that do not present an imminent threat may be reported to either or both of the following:
Employees may report behavior that constitutes harassment based on a factor listed in UB’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy to EDI.
Employees may also consult confidentially with an EAP representative.
Upon receiving a report of a violation of this policy, a supervisor or unit head must contact and consult with ER. ER will then respond to the situation in a prompt and reasonable fashion and will contact the reporting employee.
If ER or EDI receive a report of a violation of this policy, these offices will coordinate with the supervisor or unit head, as appropriate, in order to address the reported behaviors. It is important to note that principles of due process apply.
Employees should report a situation where a UB student engages in threatening or harassing behavior to University Police. University Police will coordinate with UB’s Office of Student Conduct and Advocacy to address behaviors that violate the Student Code of Conduct.
The university has a zero-tolerance policy regarding retaliatory action. Retaliatory action against anyone acting in good faith who has made a complaint of workplace violence or bullying, who has reported witnessing workplace violence or bullying, or who has been involved in reporting, investigating, or responding to workplace violence or bullying is a violation of this policy. Retaliatory acts may include, but are not limited to: (1) employment actions affecting salary, promotion, job duties, work schedules or work locations; (2) any action affecting the employee’s work atmosphere. Those found responsible for retaliatory action may be subject to discipline up to and including termination, or criminal charges, if applicable. To report a retaliatory action, please contact one of the offices listed under Workplace Violence Advisory Team.
This policy meets the requirements of NYS Labor Law §27-b, The Workplace Violence Prevention Act for Public Employees. This law is intended to ensure that the risk of workplace assaults and homicides is evaluated by affected public employers and that such employers design and implement workplace violence protection programs to prevent and minimize the hazards of workplace violence to public employees.
This policy also addresses behaviors that rise to the level of bullying. Workplace bullying is a form of psychological violence that disrupts the peaceable environment and can result in lower workplace morale and productivity, greater employee absenteeism and turnover, and higher stress and its related health issues.
Management, along with authorized employee representatives, will work together to keep the University at Buffalo a safe place to work.
This policy applies to all university entities and employees, whether full-time, part-time, seasonal, student workers, volunteers, contractors, or other workers.
Unwelcome behavior that undermines an individual or group through negative verbal, physical, or psychological abuse. Such behavior undermines the health, dignity, and well-being of employees, and can lead to workplace violence. While bullying typically involves repeated behaviors, there are times when a behavior is so egregious that it need happen only once to constitute bullying. Unacceptable bullying behavior may include, but is not limited to:
Bullying is not about occasional differences of opinion, employee performance, conflicts, or problems in workplace relationships. It is not considered bullying when a supervisor is firm in instructing or directing a subordinate.
Bullying behaviors that are directed at an individual based on a factor listed in UB’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy may also constitute discriminatory harassment.
A form of discrimination consisting of oral, written, graphic or physical conduct relating to an individual's protected characteristics as outlined in UB’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy that has the effect of subjecting the individual to inferior terms, conditions or privileges of employment or interferes with or limits the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the university’s programs or activities. Such conduct must amount to more than petty slights or trivial inconveniences, but need not be severe or pervasive. Engaging in speech or expression protected by the First Amendment is not a violation of the university's policies against discrimination and harassment.
A situation that is likely to result in injury or death if immediate action is not taken; imminent threats must be reported to UPD immediately.
Intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, when the individual engaging in the conduct knows or reasonably should know that such conduct:
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines workplace violence as “violent acts (including physical assaults and threats of assaults) directed toward persons at work or on duty.” Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening behavior, aggressive behavior, or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting.
Workplace Violence Prevention Risk Evaluation
An employer’s inspection or examination of their workplace to determine if existing or potential hazards exist that might place employees at risk of occupational assaults or homicides. NYS Labor Law requires all public employers to perform a risk evaluation of their workplace. Risk evaluation techniques include:
|Employee Assistance Programemail@example.com |
|Equity, Diversity and Inclusionfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|University Police Escortemail@example.com|
|October 2021||Full review. Updated the policy to: |
• Change the title of the policy from "Workplace Violence Prevention" to "Workplace Violence and Bullying Prevention"
• Specify that behaviors that violate this policy may also violate other applicable policies
• Clarify language regarding carrying or possessing firearms, dangerous weapons, or instruments
• Add a Reporting section
• Add references to bullying in the Policy Statement and the Reporting and Retaliation sections
• Add a Background section
• Revise the Applicability section
• Add a definition for Bullying, Harassment, Imminent Threat, and Stalking
• Remove binary language references
|January 2012||Updated to expand the restriction regarding the possession of weapons to include university employees working on non-university owned premises.|
|November 2011||Updated the Office of Equity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Administration (EDAAA) department name to reflect the current name of Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).|
|December 2010||Updated to add information in accordance with requirements of the New York State Department of Education and New York State Department of Public Employee Safety & Health.|