When people talk about workplace violence policies, the phrase “zero tolerance” almost always comes up. Zero tolerance puts workplace violence outside the company’s normal progressive discipline system. Zero tolerance has a lot of appeal because it’s a claim to the moral high ground and makes a company feel like it’s taking a real stand. But while it might be appealing as a principle, zero tolerance isn’t necessarily the most effective way to combat workplace violence and harassment. Zero tolerance works best in the most serious cases of workplace violence involving physical assault. After all, it’s hard to defend giving workers who attack other workers a second chance.
But workplace violence often takes more subtle forms including threats and even verbal abuse. The severe penalties provided by zero tolerance may be too harsh for these kinds of offenses; in addition, there may be mitigating circumstances or reasons that if they don’t justify at least explain a worker’s violent behavior.
This tool will assist you in developing your own policy, tailored to your company.
How to Use this Tool
The Model Policy doesn’t provide for automatic termination but instead gives you the flexibility to impose any penalty, including immediate termination, appropriate under the circumstances.