Workplace Violence

Workplace violence should not be a part of your job.

What is workplace violence?

Any act of physical, verbal, or psychological threat or abuse, assault, or trauma on an individual that results in physical and/or psychological damage.

What is the cause?

A number of different actions in the environment can trigger or cause workplace violence, such as:

Non-work related situations:  

  • Domestic violence
  • Road rage

What should you do if you suspect workplace violence in your office?

Contact your Human Resource Representative or University Police at (814) 863-1111.

What is your responsibility?

It is up to each employee to help make Penn State a safe workplace for all of us.

Expectation: each employee will treat all other employees, as well as customers and potential customers of the University, with "dignity and respect".

Expect management to care about your safety and to provide as safe a working environment as possible by having preventive measures in place, and if necessary, by dealing immediately with threatening or potentially violent situations which occur.


  • Be familiar with department policy regarding workplace violence.
  • Be responsible for securing your own workplace. 
  • Be responsible for questioning and/or reporting strangers to supervisors. 
  • Be aware of any threats, physical or verbal, and/or any disruptive behavior of any individual - and report such to supervisors. 
  • Be familiar with procedures for dealing with workplace threats and emergencies. 
  • Do not confront individuals who are a threat. 
  • Be familiar with the resources: (Employee Assistance Program (EAP). 
  • Take all threats seriously.

Managers and Supervisors

  • Check prospective employees' backgrounds prior to hiring.
  • Inform employees of department workplace violence policies and procedures. 
  • Ensure that employees know specific procedures for dealing with workplace threats and emergencies, and how to contact police, fire, and other safety and security officials. 
  • Ensure that employees with special needs are aware of emergency evacuation procedures and have assistance (as necessary) regarding emergency evacuation situations. 
  • Respond to potential threats by utilizing proper resources: law enforcement, medical services, human resources staff, and the EAP. 
  • Take all threats seriously.

If you need more information, view Resources or contact University Police.