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Effective Date: May 1, 2012

Workplace Violence Prevention Policy

Responsible Office Equal Opportunity Office

Policy Statement

Boston University is committed to promoting and maintaining a safe and secure working environment for its faculty and staff, employees, students and visitors. Violent behavior, threats of violence, or physical intimidation will not be tolerated in the Boston University workplace. If such conduct occurs, it should be promptly reported to the proper authority and investigated.

The University will take appropriate action in response to reports of such conduct. Employees found to have violated this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, which may include immediate dismissal. In addition, the University may assist in pursuing civil penalties, criminal penalties, or other appropriate action against the offender. Student offenders will be subject to the Code of Student Responsibilities in addition to this policy.

Anyone who believes that he or she is a victim of threatening or violent conduct in the workplace, or who observes such behavior or believes a credible threat of such behavior exists, should immediately report the conduct. Those who make such reports in good faith will be protected from any retaliatory employment actions.

Prohibited Conduct

Prohibited conduct in the Boston University workplace includes violent behavior, physical attacks, verbal or physical threats of violence, physical intimidation, stalking, and property damage committed by or against any faculty or staff, or any postdoctoral, graduate, or undergraduate student employed at the University. Prohibited conduct does not encompass lawful acts of self-defense or the defense of others.

Most personal situations need not be reported to Boston University unless they pose a risk of violence in the workplace. Examples of personal situations that could pose a risk of violence in the workplace and should be reported to the appropriate authority at Boston University include, but are not limited to:

  • Incidents or threats of domestic violence against an employee where it is possible that the threatening party could seek out the employee at work;
  • Receipt of threatening or harassing telephone calls, emails, or other communications;
  • Unwanted pursuit or threats by an outside party who has been observed at or near the workplace; and
  • Any situation in which an employee has obtained a protective or restraining order naming his or her workplace as a prohibited area of contact.

Employees facing personal situations that involve violence or the potential for violence are encouraged to seek confidential counseling assistance through one of these University resources:

Confidential problem-solving assistance is available from the:


The prevention of workplace violence is a shared responsibility. Specific responsibilities are described below. Depending on the circumstances, the University may be obligated to report incidents to external agencies. The University’s policy is to fully comply with its reporting obligations in all cases. Anyone having questions about such reporting are encouraged to contact the Boston University Police Department, BUPD.

Everyone at Boston University:

  • Report violent incidents or threats of imminent violence to BUPD, Medical Campus Public Safety or local police.
  • Report warning signs of actual or potential violent or hostile behavior that may affect the workplace as soon as possible to BUPD, Medical Campus Public Safety, your manager or supervisor, Office of the University Provost, Human Resources, or Dean of Students. (See “Procedures for Reporting Violence or Threats of Violence” below.)
  • Be alert to behaviors or attitudes that may be indicators of disruptive, threatening, or violent behaviors such as: recent changes in behavior, appearance, or demeanor; work or personal crisis; withdrawal from normal activities or contacts; substance abuse; threats or references to violence or self-harm; possession of or fascination with weapons; and expressions of being wronged, humiliated, or degraded.

Managers and Supervisors:

  • Ensure awareness of this policy by faculty and staff, as well as by postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate student employees within your areas of supervision.
  • Contact Boston University Police Department or Medical Campus Public Safety if you have concerns about a possible threat of violence.
  • Take appropriate steps to protect those who report threatening behavior from retaliation.
  • Participate in planning and response efforts to mitigate the risk of workplace violence.

Boston University Police Department and Medical Campus Public Safety:

  • Respond to reports of workplace violence and emergency situations and coordinate with other law enforcement agencies.
  • Advise and coordinate with the Office of the University Provost, Human Resources, and other affected departments on appropriate responses to threats of workplace violence
  • Work with employees in at-risk areas to develop safety plans.
  • Take appropriate steps to protect those who report threatening behavior from retaliation.

Human Resources and University Provost’s Office:

  • Ensure the effective implementation of this policy by collaborating with hiring units/departments.
  • Review reports of potential workplace violence or hostility affecting employees, consult other campus units as appropriate, and recommend appropriate responses.
  • Oversee disciplinary action against employees who have violated the policy.
  • Coordinate preventive measures to encourage a safe and secure workplace.
  • Review this policy annually and revise it as appropriate to enhance its effectiveness.
  • Take appropriate steps to protect those who report threatening behavior from retaliation.
  • Notify Boston University Police Department or Medical Campus Public Safety of threats of violence reported to Human Resources or the University Provost’s Office.

Boston University Faculty & Staff Assistance Office:

  • Provide crisis counseling, advocacy, and management consultation for those affected by workplace violence, hostility, or harassment.
  • Provide consultation regarding behavioral risk factors in the prevention and management of potential workplace violence.
  • De-brief with campus units, individuals, or groups who may experience secondary trauma from a violent incident.

Procedures for Reporting Violence or Threats of Violence

It is the responsibility of every member of the campus community to take any violence or threat of violence seriously and to immediately report workplace violence or threats of violence to the appropriate authorities listed below. Contact BUPD at 617-353-2121 or Medical Campus Public Safety at 617-414-4444 if you are not sure whether there is an immediate threat of violence or hostility, but are concerned that the behavior of any person may lead to violence.

Imminent threats, violent incidents, or dangerous or emergency situations:

  • Local police (911)
  • Boston University Police Department, 617-353-2121, (TTY: 617-353-5387),
  • Medical Campus Public Safety, 617-414-4444,
  • Throughout the Charles River and Medical Campuses there are many blue emergency call boxes that have a red button inside that will automatically connect you to the Police Department.

Violence or emergency situations off-campus:

Verbal abuse, perceived intimidation, harassment, or other non-emergency situations:

Support for Those Affected by Violence

The University’s Student Health Services, Faculty & Staff Assistance Office, and Crisis Counselor will respond to requests for assistance from victims of violence or threats of violence by providing counseling, advocacy, safety planning, and other support as appropriate. Requests for assistance may be directed to:

  • Boston University Student Health Services, 617-353-3575;
  • Boston University Faculty & Staff Assistance Office, 617-353-5381;
  • Boston University Crisis Counselor: Days 617-353-3569; Nights and weekends 617-353-2121

Additional Resources Regarding This Policy

This Policy is also a part of the Faculty Handbook section on Human Resources.