TOWN OF PINE PLAINS WORKPLACE VIOLENCE STATEMENT, POLICY AND PROCEDURES
The Town of Pine Plains has a commitment to promote a safe and secure work environment that promotes the achievement of its mission of serving the public. All elected officials, employees, volunteers and appointed individuals (hereinafter called “employees”) of the Town are expected to maintain a working environment free from violence, threats of harassment, threats of violence, intimidation or coercion. Such acts that involve or affect the employees of the Town will not be tolerated. While these behaviors are not prevalent at the Town of Pine Plains, the Town Board recognizes that no organization is immune.
The purpose of this policy is to address the issue of potential workplace violence Ln our Town, prevent workplace violence from occurring to the fullest extent possible, and set forth procedures to follow when such violence has occurred. This policy is written to meet the requirements of NYS Labor Law 527-b.
The Town of Pine Plains prohibits workplace violence. Violence, threats of violence, intimidation, harassment, coercion or other threatening behavior towards people or property will not be tolerated. Complaints involving workplace violence will not be ignored and will be given the serious attention they deserve. Individuals who violate this policy may be removed from Town property or work areas and are subject to disciplinary and/or personal action up to and including termination, consistent with Town policies, rule and agreements, and/or referral to law enforcement authorities for criminal prosecution.
The Town, at the request of an employee or at its own discretion, may prohibit members of the public, including family members, from seeing an employee on Town property or workplace unless necessary to transact Town-related business. This policy particularly applies in cases where the employee suspects that an act of violence will result from an encounter with said individual(s).
- Scope of Policy
All employees, appointed individuals, members of the public, vendors, contractors, consultants and others who do business with the Town, whether in a Town facility or offsite location (workplace) where Town business is conducted, are covered by this policy This policy also applies to other persons not affiliated with the Town, such as former employees and visitors. This policy includes violence between employees, employees and public, and employees and contractors.
Workplace Violence – Any behavior that is an physical assault or any behavior which is violent, threatens violence, coerces, harasses, or intimidates others, interferes with an individual’s legal rights of movement or expression, or disrupts the workplace, the work environment or the Town’s ability to serve the public. Examples of workplace violence include, but are not limited to:
- Disruptive behavior intended to disturb, interfere with or prevent normal work activities (such as yelling, using profanity, verbally abusing others, hand gestures or waving arms and fists).
- Intentional physical contact for the purpose of causing harm (such as slapping, jabbing, stabbing, punching, kicking. shoving or other physical attack).
- Menacing or threatening behavior such as throwing objects, pounding on a desk or door, damaging property, stalking, or otherwise acting aggressively; or making oral or written statements specifically intended to frighten, coerce or threaten
- Behavior that creates a hostile work environment where a reasonable person would interpret such behavior as constituting evidence of intent to cause harm to individuals or property.
Possessing firearms, imitation firearms BB guns, paint ball guns, pellet guns, knives with blades longer than four inches or other dangerous weapons, instruments or materials. No one •thin the Town workplace, with the exception of a police agency, shall have in their possession a firearm or other dangerous weapon, instrument or material that can be used to inflict bodily harm on an individual of damage to Town property without specific written authorization from the Supervisor regardless of whether the individual possess a valid permit to carry the firearm or weapon. This restriction applies to firearms or weapons located in personal and commercial vehicles.
Harassing or threatening letters, phone calls, fax’s, text messages, instant messages. web-postings, e-mail and other forms of communication.
Threats or attempts to commit suicide.
h Surveillance, including unapproved photos and videos on cell phones, cameras and/or camcorders.
- Department Head – The person designated to supervise the activities and operation of departments in the Town of Pine Plains government. Department Heads are: Town Clerk, two (2) Town Justices, Highway Superintendent, Assessor(s), Recreation Director, Police Chief or Officer in Charge (as the case may be) and Town Supervisor
- Chairperson – The appointed leader for the following boards and committees: Board of Assessment Review (BAR), Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), Recreation Committee, Conservation Advisory Committee (CAC), Affordable Housing Committee or any other committee(s) appointed by the Town Board.
- Employee – Any person involved in the Town of Pine Plains government including: elected officials, paid employees, appointed individuals and volunteers appointed to various boards and/or committees and are called employees herein.
- Workplace – Includes any Town-owned property (building, park or parking lots), work site (road construction and maintenance, tree and brush trimming and cutting, roadside mowing, culver/bridge construction and maintenance, and snow and ice control operations), other similar locations and activities, and Town-sponsored activities
- Risk Factors
Potential risk factors include, but are not limited to
l . Working in a public setting;
- Working late night or early morning hours;
- Exchanging money with the public;
- Working alone or in small numbers;
- Uncontrolled access to the workplace;
- Areas of previous security problems.
The methods the Town of Pine Plains will use to prevent incidents of violence in the workplace include, but are not limited to, the following•
- Making high-risk areas more visible to more people;
- Installing good external lighting;
- Using drop safes or other methods to minimize cash on hand;
- Posting signs stating that limited cash is on hand;
- Providing training in conflict resolution and nonviolent self-defense responses;
- Establishing and implementing reporting systems for incidents of aggressive
G. Reporting of Incidents
l . General Reporting Responsibilities
Incidents of workplace violence, threats of workplace violence or observations of workplace violence are not to be ignored by an employee of the Town. Workplace violence should promptly be reported to the appropriate Town official (see Responsibilities”). Additionally, employees are encouraged to report behavior that they reasonably believe poses a potential for workplace violence as defined in “D. Definitions.” is important that all employees of the Town take this responsibility seriously to effectively maintain a safe working and learning environment.
- Imminent or Actual Violence
Any employee experiencing or witnessing imminent danger or actual violence involving weapons or personal injury must immediately call 9) I and then notify their department head or supervisor.
- Acts of Violence Not Involving Weapons or Life Injuries to Persons
Any employee who is the subject of a suspected violation of this policy involving violence without weapons or personal injury, or is a witness to such suspected violation, must report the incident to their supervisor, or in lieu thereof, to the Town Supervisor
- Commission of a Crime
All employees who believe a crime has been committed against them have the right and are encouraged to report the incident to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
- False Reports
Employees who make false and malicious complaints of workplace violence, as opposed to complaints which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, will be subject to disciplinary action and/or referral to civil authorities as appropriate.
- Incident Reports
The Town Clerk shall maintain an incident report file for the Town.
l . Town Supervisor
The Town Supervisor shall be responsible for the implementation of this policy for all Town non-highway employees. The responsibility includes dissemination of this policy to all non-highway Town employees, ensuring appropriate investigation and follow-up of all alleged incidents of workplace violence, and ensuring that all department heads are aware of their responsibilities under this policy through internal communications and training.
The Town Supervisor is responsible for responding to, intervening in and documenting all incidents of violence in the workplace for Town non-highway employees. The Town Supervisor will immediately log all incidents of workplace violence
2 Highway Superintendent
The Highway Superintendent shall be responsible for the implementation of this policy for all Town highway employees. The responsibility includes dissemination of this policy to all Town highway employees, ensuring appropriate investigation and follow-up of all alleged incidents of workplace violence, and ensuring that all department heads are aware of their responsibilities under this policy through internal communications and training.
The Highway Superintendent is responsible for responding to, intervening in and documenting all incidents of violence in the workplace for Town non-highway employees. The Highway Superintendent will immediately log all incidents of workplace violence.
- Department Heads/Chairpersons
All Department Heads should be knowledgeable of when law enforcement action may be appropriate. Department Heads and Chairpersons will be trained in workplace violence awareness and prevention, non-violent crises intervention, conflict management and dispute resolution. The Town Supervisor will work closely with Department Heads and Chairpersons when the possibility of workplace violence is heightened, as well as on the appropriate response to workplace violence incidents consistent with Town policies, rules, procedures, New York State laws, rules and regulations, Federal laws, rules, and regulations, and applicable labor agreements, including appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Each Department Head or Chairperson with supervisory responsibility is responsible within their area of jurisdiction for the implementation of this policy Department Heads and Chairpersons must report to the Supervisor any complaint of workplace violence made to them and any other incidents of workplace violence of which they become aware or reasonably believe to exist. Department Heads and Chairpersons must inform the Town Supervisor promptly about any complaints, acts or threats of violence even if the situation has been addressed and resolved. After filing reports of such complaint or incident with the Town Supervisor, the Department Head or Chairperson must keep it confidential and not disclose it further, except as necessary during the investigation process and/or subsequent proceedings.
Department Heads and Chairpersons are required to contact the police by immediately calling 91 1 in the event of imminent or actual violence involving weapons or potential physical injuries.
Employees must report workplace violence, as defined above, to their Department Head or Chairperson. Recurring or persistent workplace violence that an employee reasonably believes is not being addressed satisfactorily, or violence that is, or has been, engaged in by the employee’s Department Head or Chairperson should be brought directly to the attention of the Town Supervisor.
Employees who have obtained, or who are the subject of, Orders of Protection are expected to notify their Department Head or Chairperson and the Town Supervisor of any orders that list Town locations as protected areas
Victims of domestic violence who believe the violence may extend into the workplace, or employees who believe that domestic or other personal matters may result in their being subject to violence extending into the workplace, are encouraged to notify their Department Head, Chairperson or the Town Supervisor. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible.
Upon hiring, and annually thereafter, employees will receive copies of this policy from the Town Clerk. Additionally, the policy will be posted throughout the Town and be placed on the Town website, as appropriate.
- Town Supervisor/Town Clerk Responsibilities
The Town Supervisor is responsible for responding to workplace violence; facilitating appropriate responses to reported incidents of workplace violence; and consulting with, as necessary, counseling services to secure professional intervention. The Town Supervisor shall insure that employees receive appropriate training.
The Town Clerk is responsible for providing new employees with a copy of the
Workplace Anti-Violence Policy and Procedures as well as posting the policy throughout the Town’s properties and on the Town’s website, as appropriate. Each year, the Town Clerk will distribute a copy of the Anti-Violence Workplace policy after the Reorganizational Meeting and request a certification of receipt of the policy. The Town Clerk shall be responsible for maintaining records of incident reports.
- Employee Participation in the Town’s Workplace Violence Program
The employees of the Town of Pine Plains shall be provided with an opportunity to participate in all workplace violence program implementation meetings; policy assessments and practices; and modifications and changes to the Town’s workplace violence program. Notification shall be given of all such meetings and sessions to al] employees of the Town of Pine Plains. Employees of the Highway Department, Police Department and all other employees of the Town of Pine Plains may elect a representative to attend such meetings and/or training sessions.
The Town Supervisor is responsible for the dissemination and enforcement of t}us policy as described herein, as well as for providing opportunities for training in the prevention and awareness of workplace violence. Additionally, annual training in conflict resolution and non-violent self-defense responses will be provided along with measures employees can take to protect themselves from such risks, such as appropriate work practices, emergency procedures, use of security alarms and other devices. Literature and a video will be available when desired from the Town Supervisor for employees’ self-training and refreshing The Town Supervisor shall disseminate the policy to the Highway Superintendent and the Chief of Police or Officer in Charge, as the case may be, who is then responsible to enforce the policy, as described herein to the Town Highway employees.
Town shall maintain the confidentiality of investigations of workplace violence to the extent possible. The Town will act on the basis of anonymous complaints where it has a reasonable basis to believe that there has been a violation of this policy and that the safety and well-being of employees of the Town would be served by such action.
Retaliation against anyone who has made a complaint of workplace violence, who has reported witnessing workplace violence, or who has been involved in reporting, investigating or responding to workplace violence is a violation of this policy. Those found responsible for retaliatory action will be subject to discipline
as provided in appropriate laws, rules, regulations and policies up to and including termination.
- Workplace Violence Incident Report
Workplace violence should not be ignored and employees are encouraged to report incidents of violent behavior. Reporting of incidents will enable the Town to maintain a safe working environment. The attached Workplace Violence Incident Report shall be used to document specific incidents and should be kept in the incident report file with the Town Supervisor
N, Record Keeping
Currently, public employers are required to record and report workplace violence incidents in accordance with New York State Labor Law, Section 27-a (Public Employer Safety and Health Act). NYCRR Part 801 of that Law, Recording and Reporting Public Employees’ Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, specifies conditions for employer recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Specifically. an employer is required to record an employee workplace violence injury If it results in death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another Job. medical treatment beyond first aid and loss of consciousness. Additionally, employers should utilize accident and illness recordkeeping information to ensure that their written workplace violence prevention plan is as effective as possible. Employers are also required to report employee workplace violence related fatalities and multiple hospitalizations to the Department’s Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH) Bureau within eight hours of the incident by calling the Albany office: 1-518-457-5508. (Refer to NYCRR Part 801 for complete information pertaining to employee record keeping and PESH reporting requirements).
Adopted by the Town Board of the town of Pine Plains on November 1 2011