Workplace Violence Prevention and Response Policy

Policy Statement

Duke will not tolerate any type of workplace violence committed by or against staff. Any threats or acts of violence against a staff member, vendor, customer, visitor, or any piece of Duke property will not be tolerated. Any staff member determined to have committed such acts will be subject to corrective actions up to and including termination. Where appropriate, Duke will report violent incidents to local law enforcement authorities.

Policy Details

Safety and Security at Duke

The Duke Police Department operates 24 hours a day with a uniformed police and security force that patrols the campus, medical center, and health system complex in cars, on bikes, and on foot. In addition to traditional police and security services, the department also provides:

  • Regular presentations on crime prevention and sexual-assault awareness
  • Seminars on drug and alcohol awareness
  • Safety engravings for personal property
  • Personal safety escort services
  • Surveys of facility safety
  • Victim assistance
  • Educational programs concerning workforce violence

Violence Response

Staff are encouraged to be alert to the possibility of incidents and threats of violence. Duke prohibits retaliation against any staff member who, in good faith, reports a violation. Every effort will be made to protect the safety and anonymity of anyone who comes forward with concerns about a threat or act of violence.

Additional behaviors that should be reported (may not be a violation of policy, but may indicate the need for intervention and assistance) include, but are not limited to:

  • Erratic, impulsive or bizarre behavior that generates fear in others
  • High degree of emotional stress
  • Suicidal statements
  • Verbal abuse
  • Any behavior or collection of behaviors that instill fear or create concern that an individual might act out violently

Examples of violent behaviors prohibited under this policy include, but are not limited to:

  • Threats: an expression of intent to cause physical or emotional harm to another person or damage the property of another. A threat may be direct, indirect, conditional or veiled and without regard to whether the party communicating the threat has the ability to carry it out in the present or future.
  • Overt Physical Intimidation or Aggression: actions that frighten, coerce, or induce duress; actions may also include property damage.
  • Physical Attack: unwanted physical contact such as hitting, kicking, pushing, shoving, biting, fighting or throwing objects or use of an unauthorized weapon against another person.
  • Stalking or Unwanted Contact: obsessive and persistent intrusion upon another person(s) or persistent unwanted pursuit (often romantic).

Note: Individuals who have a restraining order covering a member of the Duke community that potentially affects Duke business or work environment should report the restraining order to the Duke University Police Department (919-684-2444).

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence or violence in the home can impact the workplace. All employees should be alert to warning signs that may show an individual could be in an abusive relationship and report concerns on a timely basis.

Potential Signs

  • Victim conceals injuries or offers unconvincing reasons for them
  • Uncharacteristic tardiness or errors
  • Unwelcome visits by the partner to Duke University Unusual number of phone calls or text messages from partner and reluctance by the individual to converse with a partner

For more information about domestic violence and workplace violence, visit the Personal Assistance Service website.

If a staff member is a victim of workplace violence, his or her department will make every effort to provide support and security measures after the incident is reported to the Duke Police Department. Staff are encouraged to talk with their supervisors, Human Resources/Staff and Labor Relations representatives, or Duke Police officers. Alternatively, staff may call the Personal Assistance Service for confidential assistance.

Please refer to the table below for further information concerning Duke’s policies on violence in the workplace.

"Emergency" - A situation is considered an "emergency" if an injury has occurred or if there is an immediate threat of physical harm or injury.In an emergency, the staff member should consider his or her personal safety first. If possible, the staff member should then adhere to the following steps below:
Step 1 – Call 911, if appropriate.
Step 2 – Notify a supervisor.
"Non-Emergency" - A situation is considered a "non-emergency" if no injury has occurred or if there is no immediate danger, but the words or gestures of one person have induced fear of physical harm in another person.In the event of a non-emergency, the staff member should notify a supervisor, entity/departmental HR representative, or a Staff and Labor Relations representative.
The supervisor should become familiar with the "Workplace Violence Education Program" through the Duke Police DepartmentThis policy should be enforced fairly and uniformly. Call 911 and request assistance if the situation is perceived as dangerous. Attempt to identify and diffuse all conflicts as soon as possible without endangering personal safety or the safety of others. Report the incident and notify a supervisor.

In the event of a non-emergency, report any knowledge of a real or potential violation of this policy as well as any suspicious or unusual behaviors of a staff member, student, faculty member, patient, vendor, or customer to his or her supervisor. Cooperate with Staff and Labor Relations and Duke Police/Security in any investigation conducted. Do not attempt to challenge or disarm an armed and dangerous person.
Report CompletionAll injuries must be reported to the entity employee health department.
Evaluation by Employee Health DepartmentA staff member who communicates a threat must be evaluated by the entity employee health department prior to returning to work.

Emergency Contact Chart

Please refer to the table below for important contact information concerning safety at Duke.

DepartmentCampus, Medical Center, Health SystemDurham Regional HospitalDuke Raleigh Hospital
Emergency: Police/Security911911911
Non-Emergency: Police/Security684-2444470-6540954-3911
Crime Prevention and Special Programs684-4115NANA
Employee Occupational Health Clinic684-3136470-5350954-3275
Blood and Body Fluid Exposure Hotline115 (On Campus)
684-8115 (Off Campus)
470-5350 or 470-5345954-3275 or 954-3292
Disability Management System668-621 or refer to the website668-621 or refer to the website668-621 or refer to the website
Duke Vans684-2020
or refer to the website
Not ApplicableNot Applicable
Employee Assistance Program416-1727
or refer to the website

Policy Number: 10.12


Workplace Health & Safety Policy