Workplace Violence Prevention Program
The University’s Workplace Violence Prevention Program provides information to the College community about preventing and responding to incidents of workplace violence at the College’s worksites and facilities and seeks to develop programs which will prevent or reduce the likelihood of threats or acts of workplace violence. The Program seeks to ensure that any incident, complaint, or report of workplace violence is taken seriously and dealt with appropriately. The Program implements the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy adopted by the Board of Trustees on February 28, 2011. As set forth therein, workplace violence is defined as any physical assault or acts of aggressive behavior occurring where an employee performs any work–related duty in the course of his or her employment, including but not limited to:
- An attempt or threat, whether verbal or physical, to inflict physical injury upon an employee;
- Any intentional display of force that would give an employee reason to fear or expect bodily harm;
- Intentional and wrongful physical contact with an employee without his or her consent that entails some injury; and
- Stalking an employee in a manner that may cause the employee to fear for his or her physical safety and health when such stalking has arisen through and in the course of employment.
All College employees are required to comply with the Program. In addition, since students and visitors to the College are required to conduct themselves in conformity with existing law, employees who observe or experience students or visitors engaging in violent or threatening behavior should follow the procedures in the Program for reporting such behavior.
Workplace Violence Advisory Team (“WVAT”)
- The WVAT reports directly to the College President and consists of members designated by the President.
- The WVAT Chair, selected by the President, sets the times and agendas for meetings and establishes sub-committees, as necessary, to fulfill the WVAT responsibilities set forth herein and in sections 4, 7 and 12.
- The Chair and members of the WVAT and their contact information are listed in Appendix I.
- The WVAT will coordinate the Workplace Violence Prevention training at the Colleges.
Risk Assessment and Evaluation Process
On an annual basis, the WVAT will:
- Examine the prior year’s relevant records that concern workplace violence incidents to identify patterns in the type and cause of injuries.
- Assess relevant policies, work practices, and work procedures that may impact the Workplace Violence Prevention Program.
- Review survey responses received from employees of the College. Survey forms are available to employees on the College’s website and in hard-copy at the College’s Office of Public Safety and Office of Human Resources. Completed survey forms are to be forwarded to the Director of Public Safety, as the physical site evaluation team leader.
- The WVAT will conduct a physical site evaluation of the College’s workplace to determine the presence of factors that may place employees at risk of workplace violence. Each authorized employee representative organization with employees at the College will be given advance notice, in writing, from the Vice President for Administration of the date(s) and time(s) of the site visit(s). Each authorized employee organization may designate a representative to participate in the site visit(s) by notifying the WVAT Chair in writing of the designated representative. In addition to the authorized employee representative(s), an employee may also request to participate directly in the site visit for his/her work area by contacting the WVAT Chair. The authorized employee representative(s) will be provided with incident reports (without names) for the previous year. The authorized employee representative(s) may submit to the WVAT Chair any comments regarding situations in the workplace that pose a threat of workplace violence.
- Following the physical site evaluation, the WVAT will prepare a report of the findings, including a list of the high risk factors identified during the physical site evaluation and recommendations on appropriate work practice control measures to address identified risk factors. The report will be submitted to the President for appropriate action. Copies of the report will be made available, upon request, to employee(s), their authorized representatives(s), and the New York State Department of Labor.
- Physical site evaluation/risk assessment evaluations will be conducted after an incident of workplace violence, as needed and as identified by the Department of Labor, or if it is determined that a significant trend of workplace violence is identified.
High Risk Locations/Risk Factors
York College invited representatives from each union to participate in a physical site evaluation of the campus on March 10th 2011. Factors that might place an employee at risk include but are not limited to:
- Campus grounds consist of 55 acres of property connected by walkways. The quality of exterior lighting increases employee risk. In particular, inadequate lighting on the walkways leading from the buildings to the parking lots and the lighting in the parking lots themselves. Exterior building lighting was also a concern because of the potential of assault and injuries sustained from trip hazards that can’t be seen.
- Offices that handle the exchange of money, including cash, checks, money orders and credit card receipts.
- Offices that handle issues stressful to students, such as the Counseling Center, Library, Admissions Office, Financial Aid Office, Registrar, Child Care Center, Public Safety Office, Parking Services, Office of Academic Advisement, Office of Disability Services and the Student Affairs Office.
- Offices that handle issues stressful to faculty and staff, such as the Public Safety Office, the Office of Human Resources, Legal Affairs and Office of Diversity & Compliance.
- Work sites containing employees who work alone or in small groups: academic offices, faculty offices, entire campus for custodial staff, Public Safety, parking enforcement.
- Work sites containing employees who work late at night, early in the morning or on weekends: Entire campus for custodial staff and Public Safety staff, Library faculty and staff, faculty.
In response, the College utilizes or is in process of upgrading the following control measures to eliminate or reduce workplace violence hazards:
- Campus wide camera upgrade project.
- Bullet resistant Glass (Bursar)
- Safes (In all areas that handle money).
- Card Access in various labs and other high risk locations, (Note: system is scheduled to be replace and upgraded). Events – Metal Detectors.
- Emergency Public Address System (Academic Core Bldg Note: system is scheduled to be expanded and upgraded).
- Security Cameras – Bursar’s Office, all floors interior all campus buildings; outside perimeter of campus. (Note: system is scheduled to be replace and upgraded).
- One-touch Dialing to Public Safety Office on all office telephone (scheduled 2012)
Administrative or Work Practice Controls
- Public Safety Office located in strategic area.
- Public Safety is notified in advance by Human Resources and Student Affairs when they are meeting with a particular student or employee that they believe may present a higher risk of confrontation.
- Authorization required and Public Safety notification needed for off-hour access.
- Campus and buildings are patrolled by Public Safety 24/7.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Walkie-Talkies (Public Safety, Buildings & Grounds, Parking Services and Operational Services).
- Public Safety – bullet resistant vests, collapsible batons, pepper spray and handcuffs.
- Cell Phones (Emergency Management Team,).
- Emergency Phones in the lobby of A-Core building.
- Panic Buttons in Bursar’s office, Nurses office, and cafeteria.
Employee Information and Training
All employees must participate in training on the risks of workplace violence in their workplace at the time of initial employment and at least annually thereafter. The employee training and information program includes information regarding how to locate the Policy and Program as well as survey forms.
The College provides training to its employees. The training program addresses the following essential topics:
- An overview and definition of workplace violence;
- The College’s commitment to providing a safe workplace;
- Instructions regarding how to obtain a copy of the written Policy and Program;
- A listing of significant identified risk factors;
- Techniques on how to recognize and avoid potentially violent situations, including de-escalation techniques;
- How employees can protect themselves and how employees can suggest improvements to the Program;
- The importance of reporting incidents and how to report such incidents;
- Where employees can seek assistance during a dangerous situation; and
- Resources, such as trauma counseling, that may be available to employees after an incident has occurred.
Additional training will be conducted as necessary and as determined by the needs of the College.
Reporting Process/Procedures to Report Incidents of Workplace Violence
In order to maintain a safe working environment, incidents of workplace violence must be reported promptly to a supervisor and/or the Office of Public Safety. The phone number of the College’s Office of Public Safety is (718) 262-2222. Members of the College community are also encouraged to report other behavior they believe may lead to potential workplace violence. After an incident occurs or upon receipt of a complaint, an investigation will be conducted by the Office of Public Safety. Complaints involving the Office of Public Safety will be investigated by the Office of Human Resources.
The College will use a form maintained by the University’s Office of Public Safety to record incidents of workplace violence. The College Office of Public Safety will maintain all records of initial reports and the results of any investigative reports relating to Workplace Violence at the College. As set forth therein, investigative reports must include:
- Workplace location where the incident occurred;
- Time of day/shift when the incident occurred;
- A detailed description of the incident, including events leading up to the incident and how the incident ended;
- Names and job titles of employees involved;
- Name or other identifier of other individual(s) involved;
- Nature and extent of injuries arising from the incident; and vii.
- Names of witnesses.
The WVAT reviews the investigation results of incidents and complaints, determines whether there is a violation of the Policy and provides a report to the President.
The WVAT, with the participation of the authorized employee representative(s), conducts a review of the Campus Workplace Violence Incidents Report at least annually to identify trends in the types of incidents in the workplace and reviews the effectiveness of the mitigating actions taken.
Confidentiality of Certain Information
Nothing in this Program requires the disclosure to any person or entity, other than to the Commissioner of the Department of Labor as directed by the New York State Labor Law, of information otherwise kept confidential for security reasons, such as information that if disclosed may:
- Interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings;
- Deprive a person of the right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication;
- Identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information relating to a criminal investigation;
- Reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures; or v. Endanger the life or safety of any person.
Report of Violations of the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy and Program
Any employee or authorized employee representative who believes that the College’s Workplace Violence Prevention Program is in violation of CUNY’s Workplace Violence Prevention Policy, New York State Department of Labor Regulation Section 800.6 and New York State Labor Law Section 27(b), should bring their concerns to the attention of the the college's Public Safety Department or Legal and Compliance Office.
Events involving the threat of imminent danger should be immediately brought to the attention of the College’s Department of Public Safety.
Events relating to concerns of other types of reportable incidents should be reported as detailed above, and brought to the attention of the Director of York College Public Safety (Chief Tyrone Forte) or The Executive Director of Legal and Compliance Office (Ms. Olga Dais, Esq.)
If a matter has been brought to the proper College authority and the College has had a reasonable opportunity to correct the activity, policy or practice, the matter has not been resolved, and an employee or authorized employee representative still believes that serious violation of the program remains, the employee or authorized employee representative may request an inspection by notifying the Commissioner of Labor of the alleged violation. This notice to the Commissioner must be in writing and shall set forth with reasonable particularity the grounds for the notice and shall be signed by the employee or authorized employee representative in compliance with New York State Labor Law Section 27(b) and its implementing Regulations.
No employee is subject to criticism, reprisal, retaliation or disciplinary action by the College for good faith reporting pursuant to the Program. Individuals who make false and malicious complaints of workplace violence, as opposed to complaints that, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, may be subject to disciplinary or other appropriate action.
All recordkeeping and reporting shall be made in compliance with the applicable law and regulation (currently New York Labor Law Sections 27-a and 27-b and 12 NYCRR Part 800.6) and the Policy and Program.
Program Effectiveness and Evaluation/Post-Incident Response
At least annually or after serious incidents, the WVAT, together with the participation of the Authorized Employee Representatives, evaluates the effectiveness of the Workplace Violence Prevention Program, including post-incident responses and evaluation processes. The review focuses on incident trends and the effectiveness of the control measures taken by the College. The review also assesses whether the reporting and recordkeeping systems are effective in collecting relevant information.
Workplace Violence Adrisory Team
Tyrone Forte (Co-Chair) Director, Public Safety & Security
Olga Dais, Esq. (Co– Chair) Executive Dir., Compliance & Legal Affairs
Stephanie Cooper, Recruitment Manager, Human Resources
Director, Student Counseling Services Department
Dr. Mitchell Brodsky, Professor, Health & Phys Ed
Dr. Francisco Villegas, Professor of Psychology
Sameea Belle, Student Development
Shyamji Srivastava, Director, Computer Service
Student (TBD): Student Government