Violence in the workplace between employees and customers can instigate problematic situations which will implicate the employer. As an employer it is important to establish a zero-tolerance code of conduct regarding violence in the workplace to ensure employees are aware that the workplace is a violence-free zone. Consequently, training and communication of anti-violent behaviour must be circulated around the workplace to ensure violence in the workplace is prevented.
What is violence in the workplace?
Violence in the workplace can assume many forms, and if it does occur it has the potential to be very serious. If an individual engages in any form of violence within the workplace, they will ultimately face potential removal from their organisation, as violence is not dealt with lightly. Violent activity includes the following:
- Antisocial behaviour.
- Threatening another employee or work associate.
- The intentional action to hurt another individual within the workplace through physical assault, such as punching.
- The intentional action to verbally or emotionally abuse another individual within the workplace, such as through bullying or intimidation.
- Sexual assault.
What are some essential steps which an employer can take to ensure violence is prevented within the workplace?
1) Establish a policy which directly refers to violence and harassment in the workplace:
- If you ensure that you have a policy in place, which explicitly states that violence, aggression and harassment will not be tolerated within the workplace, it will deter employees from engaging in such acts.
- An anti-violence policy will deter employees from such action as they will be aware that it will threaten their position within the organisation.
2) Ensure that your organisation's anti-violence policy is circulated and communicated around the workplace:
- Essentially, you need to appoint certain individuals to communicate this policy around the workplace.
- Subsequently, these particular individuals can provide points of contact for employees to go to if they have encountered violence or are suspicious of activity which could escalate into a violent situation. Thus, an effective line of communication will be established within the workplace to aid the reporting of violence.
3) Create a culture which encourages employees to embrace one another and their differences:
- As an employer, you need to highlight the positive energy and work output which will occur if employees embrace one another.
- This will allow the workplace to become a far friendlier and more harmonious environment.
4) Prevention of such violent actions is key. If an employee reports a situation which looks like it might escalate into violence, it is the employer's responsibility to prevent this from occurring:
- If an effective line of communication has been established within the workplace, it will allow employees to report any suspicious activity before it has the time to escalate into a violent situation.
- This will protect all individuals from engaging with a violent situation that does not need to occur.
Therefore, to ensure that violence is prevented within all aspects of the workplace, training and the creation of a zero-tolerance code of conduct regarding violence must be established. Effectively, the workplace will be free from violence and a far more harmonious and productive atmosphere will be established.