Workplace Violence

Try to remain calm.  Your actions may help calm a potentially violent situation, or they may escalate the problem.

    • Stay calm. Don’t be in a hurry.
    • Be empathetic.  Show you are concerned.
    • Try to have the other person and yourself sit down.  Sitting is a less aggressive position.
    • Give positive-outcome statements, such as “We can get this straightened out.”
    • Give positive feedback for continued talking, such as “I’m glad you’re telling me how you feel.”
    • Stay out of arms’ reach.
    • Have limited eye contact.
    • Take notes.
    • Avoid yelling or arguing.
    • Do not joke or be sarcastic.


If someone becomes agitated:

  • Leave the scene immediately, if possible.  Call Campus Security from a safe place.
  • Or try to alert a co-worker that there is a problem; e.g. by calling and using an agreed upon code word to indicate trouble.

Practice preventive measures:

  • Discuss and agree on circumstances and situations in the workplace that everyone should watch out for.  Have procedures, signals and code words in place to deal with threatening situations.
  • Avoid scheduling appointments for times when no one else is in the area.  Alert your colleagues in advance about a difficult meeting, and keep the door to the room open, or meet in a public area.
  • Try to avoid working alone after hours.  If you have to work late, advise a colleague, friend or family member.
  • When working after office hours, keep doors locked and do not open the door unless you are expecting someone.
  • Report any strange or unusual activities in and around your workplace immediately to your supervisor, Campus Security, and/or the police.
  • Do not leave money or valuable belongings out in the open.  Purses should be locked in a desk or cabinet.
  • Lock your office and/or lab doors when these areas are not in use, even when you are leaving for “just a moment.”
  • Always walk in well-lit areas and know your surroundings.  If you think you are being followed, do not go home; go where there are other people.  Call Campus Security as soon as you are in a safe place.
  • Report to your building administrator any workplace locks, windows or lights that are in need of repair or attention.

Immediate or Imminent Danger:

If a reported or on-going incident of possible workplace violence presents an immediate or imminent danger, you should take the following action:

    • Call Campus Security at 740-283-6911 or dial 911.
    • Call your immediate supervisor.
    • Decide whether to continue operations or evacuate the area.