Part 1: Purpose
This document explains the plan of Lake Superior College (LSC) to prevent workplace violence. This plan has been developed in accordance with Minn. Stat. 15.86. It is the goal of Lake Superior College to achieve a work environment that is free from threats and acts of violence, whether perceived or real. The college will work to provide a safe workplace environment for all employees, students, and visitors. LSC will not tolerate workplace violence of any type, from any source, including threatening or violent actions. This includes threatening or violent actions by employees directed against other employees, by employees directed against students or other workplace visitors, and by students or visitors directed against LSC employees or each other.
Part 2: State Law
In 1992, the Minnesota Legislature adopted the following into State statute 15.86: “The State of Minnesota adopts a policy of zero tolerance of violence. It is State policy that every person in the State has a right to live free from violence. In furtherance of that policy, Minnesota Statute 15.86 mandated each agency of the State government to adopt a goal of zero tolerance of violence in and around the workplace. Each such agency was also required to develop a plan describing how the agency will seek to eliminate any potential for violence (a) in and around the agency workplace, and (b) affecting the attitudes and behavior of the people whom the agency serves or regulates.”
Part 3: Definitions
In 1994, the Minnesota Legislatures Violence Prevention Advisory Task Force endorsed this definition of violence as a reference for those working on violence prevention issues:
Violence is the abusive or unjust exercise of power, intimidation, harassment, and/or the threatened or actual use of force which results in or has a high likelihood of causing hurt, fear, injury, suffering, or death.
Workplace violence generally falls into three categories:
- A violent act or threat by a current or former employee, supervisor, or manager, or someone who has some involvement with a current or former employee, such as an employee’s spouse, significant other, relative, or another person who has had a dispute with an employee.
- A violent act or threat by someone receiving service from the agency; or
- A violent act by someone unrelated to the work environment. Violent acts are frequently the result of longstanding disputes or unresolved arguments which can begin with a disrespectful comment or action and escalate to more serious levels of violence. A continuum of violence often begins with such acts as name-calling or other negative comments which progress to pushing, shoving, or shouting that can continue into a physical assault. The complete workplace climate or environment must be assessed to prevent violence, rather than merely respond to incidents or violence in the workplace. Factors external to the workplace may impact the safety of the workplace environment, e.g., the spillover effects of family violence.
Dangerous Weapons: The category of dangerous weapons includes, but is not limited to any weapon which, per applicable law, is illegal to possess; any firearm, loaded or unloaded, assembled or disassembled, including pellet, BB, and stun guns (electronic incapacitation devices); replicate firearms, as defined in Minnesota Statute 609.713; knives, and other similar instruments, bows, cross-bows, and arrows; explosives and explosive devices, including fireworks and incendiary devices, and any other item commonly used, or primarily intended for use as, a weapon; any object that has been modified to serve as, or has been employed as a dangerous weapon; or any other item considered in the professional judgement of the Security Coordinator to be or have the potential to be a dangerous weapon.
Part 4: Responsibility for Implementation
Supervisors and administrators have primary responsibility for ensuring a safe work environment. They are specifically empowered to take immediate action to resolve or stabilize violent situations in the workplace, and to protect people from harm. Supervisors will ensure appropriate incident response resources are notified immediately when a threat is made, or a violent incident occurs. They will also ensure appropriate disciplinary responses to workplace violence and aggression are made.
Part 5: Violence Prevention
It is the responsibility of LSC and its employees and students to maintain a workplace free from threats and acts of violence. All employees, students and visitors can expect to be treated with courtesy and respect. That will be accomplished by encouraging mutual respect among all individuals, establishing open and honest communication, and enforcing zero tolerance for any type of violent behavior. LSC will work through information, training, and enforcement to foster a work environment and culture that is devoid of violence for employees, students, and visitors.
Subpart A: Welcoming Environment
LSC will endeavor to create and maintain a work environment that is caring and supportive, and try to assist employees in positively resolving problems, losses, and/or other stressors that arise in their lives. LSC will clarify and enforce expectations regarding behaviors for employees, students, and visitors.
Subpart B: Code of Conduct and Discipline
Standards of conduct at LSC will be clear, communicated, and consistently enforced. Discipline will be used fairly, consistently, and appropriately to address instances of unacceptable behavior.
Subpart C: Leadership
All employees will be expected to promote positive behavior and to lead by example in the zero tolerance of workplace violence.
Subpart D: Language and Behavior
LSC will not tolerate rude, offensive, insulting, derogatory, hateful, threatening, or violent language or behavior among its employees, students, or visitors, including but not limited to, such things as name-calling; heated arguments; obscene language or gestures; throwing things; harassment; pushing; stalking; insulting or slighting comments; bullying; hazing; unjust or unwarranted exercise of power; negative racial or sexual comments; assault; inappropriate touching; carrying weapons; making fun of or showing disrespect for others; offensive, derogatory, or inappropriate references to others; or any other form of language or behavior which intimidates, is offensive to, or manifests hostility toward another, whether that language or behavior occurs on campus or at LSC functions away from the campus.
Part 6: Dangerous Weapons
Employees and students are prohibited from possessing any dangerous weapon while on campus or at LSC off-campus events. See Part 3: Definitions for more information on dangerous weapons.
Part 7: Incidents
Incidents of threats or acts of violence will be treated seriously by LSC. Reports of all such acts will be promptly investigated, and the administration will take appropriate and necessary action to address each incident.
Subpart A: Incident Reporting
All incidents of threats or acts of violence are to be immediately reported to the area supervisor and the Security Coordinator. Reports must fully detail the specific incident and identify all persons involved, including witnesses. All reports will be fully investigated by the Security Coordinator, who will provide a full report to LSC’s President, including a follow-up on the response action taken.
The Security Coordinator will:
- Assist in the development of training programs,
- Serve as a resource referral agent and information source for supervisors and others regarding workplace violence concerns,
- Respond as needed to incidents involving threats or acts of workplace-related violence. This will require the Security Coordinator to:
- Perform situation assessments and evaluations.
- Assist with attempts to de-escalate and properly manage potentially violent situations, facilitate and coordinate response actions of appropriate resources, both internal and external, and,
- Coordinate appropriate follow-up action, e.g., investigation, victim assistance, preventive and corrective actions.
Subpart B: Response
- LSC’s Security Coordinator will be responsible for coordinating responses to violent or threatening situations in the workplace.
- LSC will take strong disciplinary action, up to and including discharge from State employment, against employees of LSC who are involved in the commission of work-related threats or acts of violence.
- LSC will support criminal prosecution of those who threaten or commit violence against its employees, students, or visitors.
- Pursuant to Minnesota Statute 15.86, this procedure does not create any civil liability on the part of the State of Minnesota.
Subpart C: Critical Incidents Stress Debriefing for Employees
LSC will develop and implement procedures for dealing with critical incidents, i.e., any incident involving an employee that results in death or substantial bodily harm to an employee or member of the public, in which deadly force, as defined in Minnesota Statutes 609.066, Subdivision 1, is used by or against an employee, or deemed serious enough by circumstances to warrant investigation and review. All critical incidents will be reported to the immediate supervisor and the Security Coordinator, who will follow the reporting procedures for violent acts. The critical incidents procedures will also include appropriate responses, e.g., leave, counseling, job relocation and/or reassignment.
Part 8: Training and Resources
LSC will provide information and training for employees to foster a work environment that is safe, respectful, proactive, and responsive to threats or acts of violence.
Subpart A: Staff Training
Appropriate to their positions, all employees will be provided with training in how to address workplace-related threats and acts of violence. Resources will be identified and made available for use once a potential problem has been identified or an incident has occurred. Assessment of additional training needs for employees will be made upon request by the area supervisor, and appropriate training programs will be developed and presented. Other training and information that foster a positive work environment, such as stress reduction, conflict management, and confronting and dealing with unacceptable behavior, will be made available.
Subpart B: Employee Counseling and Assistance
LSC will encourage the use of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), an assessment, short-term, counseling, and referral agency. While supervisors, union representatives, or family members may encourage employees to seek help from EAP, the decision to use the services is voluntary. Employees may also choose to seek assistance from private health services to address pressures, stress, emotional problems, or other personal issues that could if ignored, lead to threats or acts of violence.
AS WARRANTED, LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL PERSONNEL SHOULD BE CONTACTED IMMEDIATELY BY DIALING (9)911
Date Implemented: March 4, 1999
Correction to Part 6 made Dec. 7, 2022
Date Reviewed and Revised: October 2023
President’s Signature Date: December 6, 2023
- Minnesota State Statute: 15.86 State Agency Actions
- System Procedure 1C.0.1 Employee Code of Conduct
- System Procedure 1C.0.2 Respectful Workplace
- System Policy 5.21 Possession or Carry of Firearms
- LSC Policy 5.21
- Office of General Counsel’s Frequently Asked Questions about How the: “Conceal and Carry” Law Effects Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
- Minnesota State Statute: 624.714 (“MCPPA”)