HR Management & Compliance

12 Point Action Plan—Handling Violence in The Workplace

Yesterday’s Advisor featured Attorney Edwin G. Foulke Jr.’s critical guidance on handling an active shooter in the workplace. Today, Foulke’s 12-point action plan for handling violence in the workplace.


Foulke is a partner with Fisher & Phillips LLP, a leading national labor and employment law firm, in the Atlanta, Georgia, office. His tips came during a recent webinar sponsored by BLR.

12-Point Action Plan—Handling Violence in the Workplace

1. Adopt and publicize a zero-tolerance policy regarding threats, harassment, and violence in the workplace. Foster a respectful workplace. Consider community and law enforcement outreach including law enforcement training at your site.

2. Update/review the employment application as well as preemployment background checks and interviewing procedures to identify signs of potential problem applicants. Conduct background investigations on all job applicants.

3. Prepare and utilize release forms for personnel records from previous employers, course transcripts from educational institutions, certification records from training and professional organizations, credit reports from consumer credit reporting agencies, and criminal conviction records.

4. Update personnel policies and the employee handbook to include safety policies dealing with violence in the workplace.

5. Review with your temporary employee provider the procedures they utilize to screen their temporary employees for potential workplace violence problems.

6. Conduct periodic security audits and risk assessments of each facility. Provide adequate security including access control in reception areas, parking areas, common areas, stairwells, and cafeterias and lounges.


Managing an HR Department of One was recently recognized as one of SHRMStore’s “Great 8” best-selling products. Find out what all the buzz is about. (New California version available. Click here.)


7. Prepare a comprehensive crisis management plan, which includes a workplace prevention program, for each facility. In developing the plan, consider:

  • Preparing and distributing a contact list of all local emergency agencies
  • Performing a hazard assessment
  • Identifying evacuation routes
  • Placing crisis kits
  • Developing a:
    • Crisis management action procedure with an incident command system at corporate and local levels
    • Regulatory response procedure
    • Media coordination procedure
    • Incident recovery plan

8. Select and train management officials in conflict resolution and nonviolent techniques for handling hostage, hijacking, crisis incidents and counseling situations. Train employees for active shooter situations.

9. As part of the company’s overall management safety and health training, instruct all managers and supervisors in how to identify and deal with early warning signs and potential safety problems associated with workplace violence. Develop systems for reporting signs of potential violent behavior.

10. Identify and publicize Employee Assistance Programs, employee support services, and healthcare resources available to employees and their families.

11. Institute policies to investigate all threats and complaints of harassment and violence immediately. Designate company official(s) and/or office to handle all threats and complaints in a confidential manner.


Feel as if you’re all alone in HR? Take on a partner—Managing an HR Department of One. Get more information. (New California version available. Click here.)


12. Review and publicize the companywide procedures as well as the company management officials responsible for handling employees’ problems, complaints, and concerns involving threats, harassment, and violence.

Violence in the workplace—one more critical item to add to your existing list of critical items. HR’s never easy, but in a small department, it’s just that much tougher.
BLR’s Managing an HR Department of One is unique in addressing the special pressures small HR departments face. Here are some of its features:

  • Explanation of how HR supports organizational goals. This section explains how to probe for what your top management really wants and how to build credibility in your ability to deliver it.
  • Overview of compliance responsibilities through a really useful, 2-page chart of 23 separate laws that HR needs to comply with. These range from the well-known Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and new healthcare reform legislation to lesser-known but equally critical rules, such as Executive Order 11246. Also included are examples of federal and state posting requirements. (Proper postings are among the first things a visiting inspector looks for—especially now that the minimum wage has been repeatedly changing.)
  • Training guidelines. No matter the size of your company, expect to conduct training. Some of it is required by law; some of it just makes good business sense. Managing an HR Department of One walks you through how to train efficiently and effectively with a minimum of time and money.
  • Prewritten forms, policies, and checklists. These are enormous work savers! Managing an HR Department of One has 46 such forms, from job applications and background check sheets to performance appraisals and leave requests, in both paper and PDF format.

If you’d like a more complete look at what Managing an HR Department of One covers, click the Table of Contents link below. Or, better yet, take a look at the entire program.
We’ll send it to you for 30 days’ evaluation in your own office with no obligation to buy. Click here, and we’ll be happy to make the arrangements.
Special Announcement! The new California edition is available here!