[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Williamson 1-22-2008. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Harassment — See Ch. 39.
This policy and set of procedures define how the Town of Williamson will respond to threats and incidents in the workplace and will help to define the responsibilities of the many individuals who are involved in responding to threats, incidents, and other safety risks in the workplace. They do not supersede the rights individuals have as private citizens to make civil or criminal complaints regarding other individuals.
On June 7, 2006, New York State enacted legislation creating a new Section 27-b of State Labor Law that requires public employers (other than schools covered under the school safety plan requirements of the education law) to perform a workplace evaluation or risk evaluation at each worksite and to develop and implement programs to prevent and minimize workplace violence caused by assaults and homicides. The law is designed to ensure that public employers regularly evaluate the risk of workplace assaults and homicides and that workplace violence protection programs are implemented to prevent and minimize the hazard to public employees.
Nothing is more important to the Town of Williamson (which includes all Town departments and the Williamson Free Public Library) than the safety and security of our employees and the general public. Threats, threatening behavior, or acts of violence against employees, visitors, guests, or other individuals by anyone on the Town of Williamson property will not be tolerated.
The Town of Williamson strives to meet the needs of its clients and visitors in a professional and positive manner. Our aim is to be prepared to handle any incidents that occur and to insure that all the Town of Williamson staff, clients, and visitors are provided with a safe environment.
Workplace violence is defined as any behavior that is violent, threatens violence, coerces, harasses or intimidates others, interferes with an individual's legal rights of movement or expression or disrupts the workplace.
Goals are as follows:
To provide a safe environment for staff, clients, and visitors to the Town of Williamson government and sites where we may conduct business in the community and to ensure that all staff is familiar with the security policy by conducting on-going training reinforcing the responsibility of all staff to help create and maintain a safe environment for staff, clients, and visitors.
To provide guidance regarding direct or indirect threats to an employee, when an employee believes (s)he will encounter a potentially dangerous or violent situation, or under the circumstances at hand find a condition unsafe requiring supervisory notification and/or some type of action.
To ensure that staff understands the roles and responsibilities of all parties in creating and maintaining a safe environment.
All staff (including volunteers and interns), clients, and visitors of the Town of Williamson are covered.
The Town of Williamson will make this written program available to employees and union representatives upon request.
Training will be held at the time an employee is initially hired to a post and every year thereafter. The training will include the following items:
An employee who believes that a serious violation of the workplace violence protection program exists shall bring such matter to the attention of a supervisor in the form of a written notice and shall afford the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct such activity, policy, or practice. In cases of imminent danger employees should take appropriate action to insure there is an immediate response to address the situation, which may include calling 911. The action taken should be followed up with a written notice.
The employee will be asked to complete an incident report form. This must take place immediately whenever possible but in no case more than 24 hours after the threat or incident. If the incident has taken place over a weekend, it may be reported on Monday morning.
All Town of Williamson employees are responsible for notifying their supervisor of any threats they have witnessed, received, or have been told that another person has witnessed or received, or circumstances that are such that are likely to pose a risk of threatening or violent behavior. Employees should also report behavior they regard as threatening or violent if that behavior is job-related or might be carried out at a Town worksite.
An employee who obtains a protective or restraining order that lists Town locations as protected areas must provide a copy of the order to his/her supervisor. The Town of Williamson will respect confidentiality and recognize the privacy of the reporting employee(s).
The employee or his/her supervisor is responsible for notifying the Town Supervisor (and Director of the library if the matter takes place in the library or involves library personnel) of threats and incidents as soon as possible, but no later than the end of each business day. All library employees will notify the Director of the Library in addition to the Town Supervisor. The Town Supervisor must share appropriate information with unit supervisors and/or the Director of the Library when more than one unit is or is likely to be affected by the threat or incident.
The Town Supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the Town maintains a complete file of incident reports and related documentation that may include one or more voluntary statements that may accompany an Incident Report. The Town Clerk will maintain this file. The Director of the Library will separately maintain a file for incidents involving the library or library employees.
The unit supervisor is responsible for forwarding a copy of all incident reports to the Town Supervisor and the original to the Town Clerk.
Where an employee has reported an issue and the Town has not corrected the matter after a reasonable period of time, the employee (or employee representative) may request that the Department of Labor conduct an inspection of the workplace. The Department of Labor can be reached at 315-331-2011. A request to the Department of Labor for an inspection must:
If there is a threat or threatening situation that arises in the workplace, any employee that is aware of the situation must follow his/her department's procedures. This may include dialing 911.
Bomb threats. If any employee receives a bomb threat in person, or while talking with someone on the phone, the employee shall follow the procedures on the bomb threat checklist that is available from the Personnel Office.
If an individual receives a threat by mail, e-mail, or on voice mail, do not erase the e-mail or voice mail message, and follow the procedures described in § 45-7, "Reporting."
If an employee meets, either in the office or in the field, with an individual known to have been violent or who the employee believes may be threatening or violent, the employee must:
Notify his/her supervisor of the need to meet with such an individual and of the possible threatening situation before the meeting takes place.
The employee or supervisor will request assistance from their supervisor if the meeting or visit will take place on agency premises.
The employee or supervisor must notify the unit supervisor if they have asked for a law enforcement or security staff escort to a meeting or visit for safety reasons.
If an employee is working on Town business while offsite during non-business hours and a situation arises that poses a threat to his/her safety, the employee must call 911.
The Town of Williamson will ensure that all employees are made aware of their role in safeguarding staff, clients, and visitors. This will be done by reviewing the security policy and procedures at new employee orientation, through the distribution and availability of the policy and procedures in paper and electronic formats, through review of the policy and procedures, and through employee inquiry.
The Unit Supervisor, the Town Supervisor, and the Director of the Library will review incident reports regularly to evaluate trends or necessary actions.
If any staff person is called on by a law enforcement agency to complete an affidavit regarding a work-related threat or incident, he/she will receive the guidance of the Town Attorney. The Town of Williamson staff shall not appear in court on a work-related issue without the knowledge and guidance of a Town Attorney.
Any staff person who feels his/her safety is threatened because of work-related issues could request to have a case reassigned because of such risk. Such requests must be made in writing to the employee's supervisor. The employee will meet with the supervisor and unit supervisor, if necessary, to discuss the reasons for the request. The Town Supervisor is expected to consult with the unit supervisor regarding all such requests to seek additional information as necessary to make a decision. Unless otherwise notified by the supervisor, an employee will have a response within five business days.
Items of concern regarding safety and security will be brought to the Town Supervisor and the Director of the Library as appropriate. This group will review aggregate information regarding threats and incidents on a regular basis and will make recommendations regarding needed changes in policies and procedures.
The Town Supervisor and the Director of the Library will coordinate training in personal safety for all employees on a periodic basis.
Any person who makes threats, exhibits threatening behavior, or engages in violent acts on the Town of Williamson property will be removed from the premises as quickly as safety permits and shall remain off the Town of Williamson premises pending the outcome of an investigation. The Town of Williamson's response to incidents of violence may include suspension and/or termination of any business relationship, reassignment of job duties, suspension or termination of employment, and criminal prosecution as appropriate.
The Town of Williamson has evaluated the risks in the workplace and has identified risks associated with:
The Town of Williamson will use the following methods to prevent workplace violence, including:
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 behavior.
Posting no-trespassing signs where appropriate.
When criminal charges are filed against a client, the employee must provide the client's name, address, and date of birth. No other information from department records will be provided without approval of the unit supervisor or the Personnel Officer and the County Attorney.
Employee role. It is extremely important, and every employee's responsibility, to see that incident reports are submitted to his/her supervisor.
Responsible to ensure that the incident report is submitted to the unit supervisor if (s)he is not already aware of the situation.
The unit supervisor is responsible for reporting all incidents of violence and/or threatened violence to the Town Supervisor and the Director of the Library if the matter involves the library or a library employee.
Affected employees will be notified by the Unit Supervisor of the actions taken in response to the incident and what actions are possible regarding the individuals in questions, or by law enforcement agencies, such as the District Attorney's office.
In furtherance of this policy, employees have a duty to warn their supervisors, security personnel, or human resource representatives of any suspicious workplace activity, situation or incidents that they observe or that they are aware of, involving other employees, former employees, contractors, or visitors that appear problematic to the extent that some type of intervention is likely to be required. This includes, for example, threats or acts of violence, aggressive behavior, offensive acts, threatening or offensive comments or remarks and the like. The Town of Williamson will not condone any form of retaliation against any employee for making a report under this policy.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A written declaration made under oath, before an authorized official. Affidavits are used by law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to garner the statements of parties involved in an incident or crime. Affidavits are available to the defendant and his/her attorney if an incident is prosecuted. They are often called supporting depositions or voluntary statements.
- BEHAVIORS CONSIDERED THREATENING OR POTENTIALLY THREATENING
- Direct threats, physical aggression, verbal abuse, reckless behavior or indifference to the safety of others.
- CRIMINAL CHARGES
- Actual filing of a criminal complaint that results in an arrest warrant or appearance ticket requiring the perpetrator to respond in court to the charges.
- An action that may have further consequences, i.e., medication error, personal injury while on duty, or negative interaction with a client.
- INCIDENT REPORT
- Required Town form to document an incident. This form is available from your supervisor.
- LAW ENFORCEMENT
- Agencies who may be contacted in the event of an emergency, including the State Police, the Town of Williamson, Wayne County Sheriff's Office, and on some occasions, the FBI. All of the above agencies, with the exception of the FBI, can be reached in an emergency by dialing 911.
- ORDER OF PROTECTION
- An order of protection is an order of a court that prohibits a person from specific contact with another person and can prohibit a number of defined behaviors, including prohibiting a person from appearing at a person's home or place of employment.
- The person who makes a threat or commits an act of violence.
- Criminal behavior, personal threats, physical contact and stalking, domestic violence, including threats received at work or at home arising out of an individual's status as a Town of Williamson employee. Threats may be conveyed orally, physically, by telephone, by mail or electronic mail, or through a third party.
- TOWN ATTORNEY
- A lawyer employed by the Town of Williamson to provide legal advice to departments and staff.
- The person who is threatened or toward whom an act(s) of violence is directed.
- WORKPLACE VIOLENCE
- Any behavior that is violent, threatens violence, coerces, harasses or intimidates others, interferes with an individual's legal rights of movement or expression or disrupts the workplace.