Attorney,Employment Law
Written by Edward Lai

Drafting a Company Hostile Work Environment Policy

All businesses, regardless of size, should have an official policy regarding the prevention of a hostile work environment. Each hire should be made aware of this policy at the beginning of his or her employment. Moreover, each new employee should also know that there is zero tolerance for any person who does not comply with the company’s hostile work environment policy.

Every new hire should sign a document acknowledging receiving the hostile work environment policy and being aware that he or she can be terminated for a violation. In addition, every employee should receive training provided by the company on the handling of instances that would be considered as creating a hostile work environment.

The following are several examples of headings and language that can constitute a company’s hostile work environment policy regarding acts or threats of violence.

Purpose

The company maintains zero tolerance regarding acts or threats of violence in the workplace. The hostile work environment policy provides guidance and assurance to employees that the company will foster a work environment that is free of violence and the threat of violence.

Policy

Any kind of violent behavior by an employee is prohibited and will not be tolerated. An employee who violates this policy will face disciplinary action, which may include dismissal and criminal prosecution. Every complaint filed regarding violent behavior will be investigated. Any form of retaliation against someone who has reported violent behavior is prohibited, and such retaliation is a violation of the hostile work environment policy.

Definitions

Workplace Violence: Violent behavior an employee inflicts or threatens to inflict, which can include property damage, injury, or serious harm.

Threat: Expressing the intent to inflict harm or serious injury on a person.

Intimidation: Threats or threatening behavior intended to elicit fear from others.

Zero tolerance: Very strict and severe enforcement of policy.

Prohibited Behavior

  • Assault
  • Dangerous horseplay
  • Disregard for the safety or well-being of others
  • Intimidation
  • Loud or disruptive behavior/language
  • Physical restraint
  • Stalking
  • Violence or threats of violence
  • Weapons possession

Reporting Acts or Threats of Violence

Every employee who was harmed by violence, threatened with violence or witnessed either an act or threat of violence should do the following:

  • Call 911 if there is an emergency.
  • Report the incident immediately to the appropriate supervisor.
  • Complete and sign a Workplace Violent Incident Report.

The supervisor who was first advised of the incident should inform the department director, human resources, and law enforcement, if necessary.

Investigation

All reports of prohibited behavior will be investigated immediately and action will be taken as set forth in the company’s hostile work environment policy.

The Law Office of Edward Lai can help a company draft its hostile work environment policy. If you would like to have a consultation regarding a legal matter, please contact us through our website or call (510) 397-8287.

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