HR Glossary  /  HR Policies  /  Workplace violence and harassment policy

Workplace violence and harassment policy

What is a workplace violence and harassment policy? 

A workplace violence and harassment policy is a document that puts into writing an organization’s commitment to prevent and respond to instances of harassment and violence in the workplace. Such a policy should outline what steps the organization takes to provide a workplace that is free of violence and harassment, reporting procedures if violence or harassment occurs, and how these complaints are dealt with and investigated. 

What do employees need to know about workplace violence?

Employees need to know that they can count on their employers to prevent, address, and properly respond to incidents of workplace violence and harassment. This is where a workplace violence and harassment policy can help. Employees need to know how to report incidents, what happens when they do, and how the organization ensures their health and safety in the workplace. 

What is the difference between a workplace violence and harassment policy and a workplace and violence harassment program?

A workplace violence and harassment policy is a document that puts into writing an organization’s commitment to prevent and respond to instances of harassment and violence in the workplace.  A workplace violence and harassment program is much broader. A workplace violence and harassment program sets out how risks related to these hazards are identified and controlled, what supports are offered if violence or harassment occurs, and how the health and safety committee or representatives (or where one does not exist, the workers) are involved in the creation and maintenance of this program as one element of the organization’s health and safety strategy. 

What can I do to stop harassment at my organization?

If you’re an HR representative and you already have a workplace violence and harassment policy and program in place, then you’re on the right track. Beyond these tools, there are additional things you can do to work towards an organization that is free from violence and harassment. Workplace violence and harassment training is very important element to eliminating harassment in your organization. It’s important to provide training on workplace violence and harassment, as well as on topics that can be precursors to violence or harassment. These topics could include bullying, managing conflicts in the workplace, unconscious bias, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Providing training on these topics can address some of the underlying issues which can rise to the level of violence and harassment if left unaddressed. 

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