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Managing people in a high-pressure environment can be a challenging task. If you are a business owner or employer, you will be aware of the obstacles involved with running a business. To combat this, businesses will have rules and regulations that employees must abide by to ensure all employees are safe and business operations run smoothly. These policies dictate how employees must act towards each other as well as customers. They also define the consequences if an employee refuses to follow these regulations. One of these policies is a workplace violence policy. This article will outline what a violence policy is and whether your business should incorporate one into its structure.

What Do Employment Policies Do?

Employment policies help a business run to the best of its ability whilst ensuring that its employees are happy and protected. It is a common belief that businesses are most successful when their employees enjoy what they do and feel safe in their business. Employment policies are there to facilitate this by setting regulations that employees must adhere to. These usually set the distinction between a workplace and a social setting. For example, there may be rules around romantic relationships between employees, especially if one employee is higher up in the hierarchy.

What Is a Workplace Violence Policy?

A workplace violence policy is an employment policy that addresses and bars workplace violence from occurring. Most violent acts are already illegal by law. However, your violence policy may reinforce certain illegal acts or be broader. This means it may bar some acts that are not barred by the law. 

Generally, your violence policy should contain:

  • definitions of violence and violent behaviours;
  • responsibilities of all employees and employers to prevent work-related violence;
  • how managers will respond to acts of violence and aggression in compliance with the company policy;
  • who to notify for incident reporting;
  • emergency response plans;
  • stress debriefing and ongoing support; and
  • disciplinary procedures.

Your workplace violence policy could also contain clauses relating to bullying or harassment to keep the policy even broader.

How Do I Enforce This Policy?

You should enforce the workplace violence policy by requiring employees to sign it once they have started employment at your business. This means that adhering to the violence policy is a requirement of working at your business. In addition, there should be a clause in the agreement that states if the employee breaks the policy, you can revoke their contract. Consequently, you can terminate their employment.

The employee should know that the agreement is binding on them. In addition, the policy must be unambiguous for it to be legally enforceable if an employee tries to dispute it. 

You could also set up a disciplinary tribunal that forms when an employee has allegedly broken a term in the workplace violence policy. The tribunal could be made up of:

  • employees; 
  • managers; and 
  • independent advisors. 

This tribunal body will seek to determine what happened and what the punishment for the employee should be. A tribunal is a good way for conflicts to be dealt with in the workplace. However, there may be some circumstances that should be referred to the police. 

Should I Implement a Workplace Violence Policy?

You may work in an industry that can be tense and cause conflicts between employees. In that case, introducing a workplace violence policy is a good idea. This is so employees are aware of their behaviour and can constantly correct their behaviour if they feel they are causing a disturbance. 

A violence policy could also encourage potential employees to apply for jobs at your firm. This is because they might see that your business takes workplace violence seriously and may feel safer working at your firm. Furthermore, customers may be more likely to use your products or services if they know sufficient workplace policies are looking after your employees. 

Key Takeaways

Employment policies are designed to help protect employees and to stimulate a well-cultured workplace. All employees usually sign them at the start of employment. This means that they are binding, and you can confer punishments on any employee that breaches the agreement. One type of employment policy is a workplace violence policy. This stops violence from occurring in the workplace and can include issues such as bullying or harassment. Implementing a violence policy may encourage better-skilled employees to work for your business as they may feel safer. A violence policy can also create a better culture for your employees across all areas. 

For more information or legal assistance with implementing a violence policy, contact LegalVision’s employment lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I force employees to sign a workplace violence policy?

You can require employees to sign a workplace violence policy if they want to work for your firm.

How broad can my workplace violence policy be?

It can be as broad as you like as long as it does not breach employee rights or is unreasonable.

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