Q. One of our employees has a boyfriend who has threatened her with physical violence. What steps, if any, should we take to protect the employee in the workplace?
A. An employer may seek a temporary restraining order and an injunction on behalf of an employee who has “suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from any individual, that can reasonably be construed to be carried out or to have been carried out at the workplace.”
The harassing conduct by another individual may include: following or stalking the employee to or from the place of work, entering the workplace, making telephone calls to the employee or sending correspondence to the employee by U.S. mail, interoffice mail, fax or e-mail.
The employer should also take steps to be prepared should actual violence occur on its premises. In any violent emergency, employees should know they have three primary responsibilities:
- Remove yourself from harm’s way.
- Warn others.
- Contact the authorities.
While acts of violence in the workplace are rare, it is wise to be prepared.