Violence in the Workplace

Workplace Violence Policy

SUNY Canton is committed to providing a safe work environment for all employees that is free from intimidation, threats and violent acts. The College will respond promptly to threats, acts of violence and acts of aggression by employees or against employees by coworkers, members of the public, or others. This document sets forth standards for employee conduct and guidelines for reasonable precautions. The accompanying procedures outline response to threats or violence should they occur in the workplace.

Prohibited Conduct

  1. SUNY Canton will not tolerate any act or threat of violence made in the workplace, on College property, or while in work status.
  2. No person may engage in violent conduct or make threats of violence, implied or direct, on SUNY Canton property or in connection with College business. This includes, but is not limited to:
    1. The use of force with the intent to cause harm, e.g., physical attacks, any unwanted contact such as hitting, fighting, pushing, or throwing objects.
    2. Behavior that diminishes the dignity of others through sexual, racial, religious or ethnic disparagement, or harassment.
    3. Acts or threats which are intended to intimidate, harass, threaten, bully, coerce, or cause fear of harm whether directly or indirectly.
    4. 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.
  3. No person, without legal authority, may carry, possess, or use any dangerous weapon on SUNY Canton property or in College buildings or facilities. Unauthorized possession or use of firearms, knives (except non-spring pocket knives), or other weapons or explosives is prohibited.

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 SUNY Canton community. Workplace violence should be promptly reported to the University Police (see below). Additionally, all members of the college community are encouraged to report behavior they reasonably believe poses a potential for workplace violence in order to maintain a safe working and learning environment.

  1. Any person experiencing or witnessing imminent danger, personal injury, or violence involving weapons or actual violence should call the University Police at (315) 386-7777 immediately, or 911.
  2. Any person who is the subject of a suspected violation of the Workplace Violence prevention Policy involving violence without weapons or personal injury, or is a witness to such suspected violation, should report the incident to the University Police.
  3. Employees are expected to report any threat or act of violence that they have witnessed, received, or have been informed of, to the University Police.
  4. Every threat will be taken seriously and must be reported.
  5. Employees who commit a violent act or threaten to commit a violent act are subject to disciplinary action and/or civil/criminal prosecution as appropriate.
  6. Any individual who makes a substantial threat, exhibits threatening behavior, or engages in violent acts on SUNY Canton property shall be subject to removal from the premises as quickly as safety permits, pending the outcome of an investigation.

Employee Responsibilities

  1. All SUNY Canton employees are responsible for helping 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 including, but not limited to, the following examples:


    • In response to telephone inquiries, do not release information about coworkers’ schedules, home telephone numbers, or other personal information.
    • In the event of suspicious conduct, request the credentials of any stranger who enters your office to do repair or other service work. If necessary, verify the work request with your supervisor.
    • Never leave money, credit card travel documents, or anything else of value in an unlocked desk or cabinet.
    • If something is stolen, report it immediately to University Police.


    • Direct or veiled threats of harm.
    • Intimidating, belligerent, harassing, bullying, or other inappropriate and aggressive behavior.
    • Numerous conflicts with supervisors and other employees.
    • Bringing a weapon to the workplace, brandishing a weapon in the workplace, making inappropriate references to guns, or fascination with weapons.
    • Statements showing fascination with incidents of workplace violence, statements indicating approval of the use of violence to resolve a problem, or statements indicating identification with perpetrators of workplace homicides.
    • Statements indicating desperation (over family, financial, or other personal problems) to the point of contemplating suicide.
    • Drug/alcohol abuse.
    • Extreme changes in behavior.
  2. Employees are expected to notify University Police whenever an order of protection is granted which mentions SUNY Canton property or involves a College employee or a person working at or attending the College, and provide a copy of the order. Appropriate efforts will be made to protect the privacy and sensitivity of the information provided. Employees should also notify their supervisor of such protective restraining orders or orders of protection.
  3. 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 and the University Police. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible. (Also see the Domestic Violence policy below.)
  4. All employees have an obligation to report any incidents of violence and/or inappropriate conduct or behavior to University Police immediately. Following notification to University Police, employees should inform their supervisor of the incident.
  5. Any employee or representative of employees who believes that a serious violation of a workplace violence prevention program exists or that any imminent danger exists shall bring such matter to the attention of a supervisor in the form of a written notice. If following written notice, the matter has not been resolved and the employee or representative believes that the violation still exists or that an imminent danger still exists, the employee or representative should contact the Office of Human Resources.
  6. Individuals found to be in violation of this policy may be removed from the College property. Employees may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, pursuant to applicable Personnel Policies or Collective Bargaining Agreements. Further, all individuals who violate criminal law may be subject to criminal prosecution.
  7. No employee shall be subjected to criticism, reprisal, retaliation, or disciplinary action from the College for good faith reporting pursuant to this policy. Employees who engage in violent conduct should be reported to University Police at (315) 386-7777 or 911.
  8. Individuals who make false and malicious complaints of workplace violence, as opposed to complaints which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, may be subject to disciplinary action and/or referral to appropriate authorities for criminal and/or civil action as appropriate.
  9. SUNY Canton shall make the written Workplace Violence Prevention Program available, upon request, to its employees and their designated representatives.


  1. Each dean, director, department chairperson, executive officer, administrator, or any other person with supervisory responsibility (hereinafter “supervisors”) is responsible within his/her area of jurisdiction for the implementation of this policy.
  2. Supervisors are required to contact the University Police immediately in the event of imminent or actual violence involving weapons or potential physical injuries.
  3. Supervisors must report to University Police any complaint of workplace violence made to them and any other incidents of workplace violence of which they become aware of or reasonably believe 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 University Police and immediate supervisor, the supervisor should keep it confidential and disclose it only as necessary during the investigation process and/or subsequent proceedings.
  4. Following notification to the University Police, supervisors are obligated to contact the Director of Human Resources immediately to report incidents involving College employees.

University Police

  1. The University Police Department is responsible for:
    • Responding to,
    • Intervening, and
    • Documenting all incidents of violence in the workplace.
  2. University Police will log all incidents of workplace violence and will notify the respective supervisor and the Director of Human Resources of an incident involving an employee, or notify the Dean of Students of an incident with a student.
  3. University Police will maintain an internal tracking system of all threats and incidents of violence.
  4. When informed, University Police will maintain a record of any Orders of Protection and will provide escort service to members of the college community within its geographical confines when sufficient personnel are available. Such services are to be extended at the discretion of the Chief of Police or designee.

Office of Human Resources

  1. The Office of Human Resources (HR) is responsible for:
    • Assisting the Chief of Police and supervisors in responding to workplace violence.
    • Facilitating appropriate responses to reported incidents of workplace violence.
    • Notifying the University Police of workplace violence incidents reported to HR.
    • Consulting with, as necessary, counseling services to secure professional intervention.
  2. The Office of Human Resources is responsible for providing new employees or employees transferred to the College with a copy of the Workplace Violence Policy and Procedures.
  3. The Office of Human Resources is responsible for annually disseminating this policy to all employees.

Domestic Violence – Policy Statement

Domestic violence permeates the lives and compromises the safety of thousands of New York State employees each day, with tragic, destructive, and sometimes fatal results. Domestic violence occurs within a wide spectrum of relationships, including married and formerly married couples; couples with children in common; couples who live together or have lived together, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender couples; and couples who are dating or who have dated in the past.

Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of coercive tactics which can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic, and emotional abuse perpetrated by one person against an adult intimate partner, family member, or household as defined in the Family Court Act, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over the victim. In addition to exacting a tremendous toll from the individuals it directly affects, domestic violence often spills over into the workplace, compromising the safety of both victims and co-workers and resulting in lost productivity, increased healthcare costs, increased absenteeism, and increased employee turnover.

SUNY Canton, to the fullest extent possible without violating any existing rules, regulations, statutory requirements, contractual obligations, or collective bargaining agreements, will take all appropriate actions to promote safety in the workplace and respond effectively to the needs of victims of domestic violence.