Workplace Violence

Brown University requires the commitment of all employees to promote a safe environment. As a concerned community, it is our collective responsibility to report acts of intimidation or violence The University is committed to working with its employees to maintain a work environment free from violence, threats of violence, harassment, intimidation, stalking, domestic violence, and other disruptive behavior. While this kind of conduct is not pervasive at our university, no institution is immune. Every place of work will be affected by disruptive behavior at one time or another.

This policy applies to all work locations including offices, worksites, vehicles, and field locations.
Violence, threats, harassment, intimidation, domestic violence, and other disruptive behavior in our workplace will not be tolerated; that is; all reports of incidents will be taken seriously and will be dealt with appropriately. Such behavior can include oral or written statements, gestures, or expressions, and forms of domestic violence that communicate a direct or indirect threat of physical harm. Indicators of potentially violent behavior may include one or more of the following:

  • Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs
  • Unexplained increase in absenteeism, and/or vague physical complaints
  • Depression/Withdrawal
  • Increased severe mood swings, and noticeably unstable or emotional responses
  • Increasingly talks of problems at home
  • Increase in unsolicited comments about violence, firearms, and other dangerous weapons and violent crimes

The policy covers incidents involving university members and incidents involving individuals from outside the university perpetrating violence against members of the university. Individuals who commit such acts may be removed from the premises and may be subject to disciplinary action, criminal penalties, or both.

Domestic Violence in the Workplace

Domestic violence is physically and/or psychologically abusive behavior that a household member or dating partner uses to establish and maintain control over another person. Such behavior can be violent or threaten violence, and may result in physical or emotional harm or otherwise place a person's safety and productivity at risk. Brown University will not penalize or discipline employees because they are, or have been victims of domestic violence.

Brown University does not tolerate domestic violence, or any form of threat or intimidation, in the workplace, including offices, facilities, work sites, vehicles or other locations where university business is conducted. Domestic violence perpetrators may be removed from the premises and may be subject to arrest and/or criminal prosecution. Employees who perpetrate domestic violence in the workplace, or who use University facilities, property or resources to perpetrate domestic violence, are subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal.

Members of the University Community that have obtained protective and restraining orders should contact the Brown University Department of Public Safety and provide them with a copy of the order even if the order has been issued in another state. Such a step enables the Department of Public Safety to enforce the conditions of such protection orders, and protect victim's safety while in the workplace, should an offender act in violation of such order on Brown's premises. You may call Public Safety's Special Victims Unit for assistance. All information is kept confidential.

Work Expectations of Reporting and Action

All department heads and chairs are strongly encouraged to implement this policy effectively in an effort to contribute to maintaining a safe working environment for all. Employees are required to report violent behavior that is observed or experienced by anyone in the workplace immediately, whether he or she is an agency employee or not. As an employee bystander, please do not ignore disruptive behavior. You are obligated to report violent, threatening, harassing, intimidating, domestic violence or other disruptive behavior that you have observed to a supervisor or manager.

If you have been a victim of any of the aforementioned behaviors, please report such occurrences to your supervisor or manager or to the Brown University Department of Public Safety.

Supervisors and managers who receive such reports are expected to seek advice from the Director of Employee Relations at 863-3896 regarding investigating the incident and initiating appropriate action.

[PLEASE NOTE: Threats or assaults that require immediate attention by the Department of Public Safety should be reported directly to them by calling 4111 on the Main Campus or 911 for dialing off of the Main Campus.]

Where to Get Help

Internal and external support services are available to employees who have been victims of workplace violence. The Brown University Department of Public Safety website, Workplace Safety Resources for Staff and Faculty, is an excellent starting point for more information. Other resources include:

Revised Effective: 3-2-10