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Preventing Workplace Violence

Preventing workplace violence … Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Use these violence prevention strategies to identify 8 warning signs of violent employee behavior, access 2 examples of a sound workplace violence policy and learn how YOUR management style can stop workplace violence before it erupts…

Make workplace safety a core part of your management strategy and policy planning. Use our workplace violence prevention strategies, sample policies and screening advice to keep your most valuable capital – your workers – safe and violence free.

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The sour economy has every company looking for ways to pinch pennies. If belt-tightening turns into illegality, employers can expect employees to alert the authorities. Virtually every law governing the workplace has a whistle-blower provision.
Acts of violence can take place at any time, in any location. If you think your company is immune to violent behavior, think again. Violence is a problem that can infiltrate every industry and profession.

You know you have an obligation to eliminate discrimination, harassment and retaliation. You know you have to make sure employees don’t harass co-workers or subordinates, or harm customers and others. On the other hand, you know applicants and employees have a right to privacy that is protected by state and federal laws. It’s a balancing act: Just how do you protect workers on the one hand, while respecting their privacy on the other?

An unexpected visit from an OSHA inspector is often unwelcome—and unsettling, too. But if you’ve taken the time to prepare, it need not be traumatic. Planning ahead will smooth the inspection process—and put you in control of it. Plus, being prepared may make a good impression on the inspector, which could lead to being cited for fewer violations.

Q. I have a question about providing honest feedback during reference requests. Is it better to defend the fact that I provided a truthful (negative) assessment, rather than trying to explain why I can’t give any reference at all? Aren’t we protected by negligent-referral and reference-immunity laws?

This one just might take the cake. Or, at least frost you ... It’s true that employers sometimes trot out the “equal opportunity jerk” defense in sexual harassment cases, saying the harassing manager was awful to both women and men. But this court says that isn’t much of a defense at all, noting that, “It would be exceedingly perverse” if an employer could shield itself from Title VII liability by showing an alleged harasser sometimes abused men “although his preferred targets were female.”

If your organization has been hit with OSHA safety violations in the past, consider yourself on double-secret probation. The agency’s new Severe Violator Enforcement Program starting in June will call for “a more intense examination” of work sites where previous safety violations have been found.

Many employers have adopted so-called zero-tolerance rules prohibiting any kind of violence at work. The reason: Getting rid of violent employees is crucial to maintaining a safe work environment. But be careful how you enforce the rule. If you ever make exceptions, you’re asking for a lawsuit.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Miami-Dade County’s ordinance requiring construction cranes to be able to withstand 140 mph winds is invalid. Construction firms had challenged the law, arguing that it would cost jobs, hinder workplace safety and was beyond the county’s (or the state’s) ability to regulate compliance.

When Ana Mateo was hired as a bilingual secretary for a school district, she never imagined her Spanish fluency would be her downfall. Now that the EEOC has taken up her case, somebody has some explaining to do — in federal court.
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