Employee Guidelines on Violence and Threats

General Guidelines:

  • Establish/Identify a special password used by all staff in the office to alert fellow employees and supervisors a threatening incident is occurring and assistance is required.
  • Post-emergency numbers on each telephone.
  • Supervisors and key staff should review office layout and determine main evacuation routes for each section of the office to use during a personal safety emergency. Instruct staff of routes and safe meeting locations.
  • Post bomb threat instructions at each phone.
  • Counters or desks should be used to provide a barrier between customers and employees in the initial information and reception areas.
  • Follow reporting and recommended actions for any threat or act of violence, listed below.
Behavior Recommended Action

For an Angry or
Upset Person:

  • Project calmness; move and speak slowly, quietly and confidently.
  • Be an empathetic listener: encourage the person to talk and listen patiently.
  • Do not challenge or interrupt the person while they are talking.
  • Use “I” language, such as:
    “I see.”, “How can I help.”, “I want to understand”.
  • Avoid the use of threatening or derogatory words, such as:
    “You are wrong” “You shouldn’t feel that way”
  • Never belittle the person or make him/her feel foolish.
  • Avoid making false statements or promises you cannot keep.
  • Acknowledge the person’s feelings. Indicate that you can see he or she is upset.
  • If necessary, alert supervisor, co-worker or others of the problem.
  • Have supervisor or co-worker come out to assist you.
  • Arrange yourself so that a visitor cannot block your access to an exit.
  • Avoid any physical contact, finger-pointing or long periods of fixed eye contact. Do not touch the person.
  • Position a barrier between you and the person. If no barrier is present, just slowly back away to add distance.
  • Try not to position yourself between the person and their exit route.
  • Avoid invading the individual’s personal space. Make sure there is a space of 3’ to 6’ between you and the person.
If you feel
  • Notify University Police, by calling 2300
    • Use password to signal someone else to call.
    • Excuse yourself and call.

For someone
with a gun, knife
or other weapon:

  • The primary objective is to escape to a safe location and call the police as soon as possible.
  • If you cannot escape, seek cover.
  • Try to warn others without endangering your own life.
  • Don’t try to be a hero.
  • Follow the instructions of the person threatening you.
  • Notify University Police, by calling 2300.
Supervisors/Other Personnel
When called to
  • First observe from safe distance to help understand the severity of the situation.
  • Obtain description of threatening person.
  • Notify University Police, by calling 2300 for assistance as necessary.
  • Approach threatening person slowly.
  • If the threatening person tries to escape, do not try to stop him/her.
  • Immediately write down a description and call University Police.
Restraining Orders
An employee or
student obtaining
a restraining order is expected to:
  • Notify University Police, by calling 2300.
  • Supply University Police with a copy of the order.
  • Include a description and photograph, if available, of the person against whom the restraining order is filed.
  • Notify supervisor.
An expected arrival of an individual against whom there is an active protective or restraining order:
  • Notify University Police, by calling 2300.

Established 06-2001