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CIL-NET Presents…. Managing Workplace Risks A National Teleconference & Webinar April 13, 2011 Presenter: Melanie Lockwood Herman. 1. CIL-NET Presents…. Managing Workplace Risks A National Teleconference & Webinar April 13, 2011 Presenter: Melanie Lockwood Herman. 2. What is Risk?.

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Cil net presents

CIL-NET Presents…

Managing Workplace Risks

A National Teleconference & Webinar

April 13, 2011


Melanie Lockwood Herman


Cil net presents

CIL-NET Presents…

Managing Workplace Risks

A National Teleconference & Webinar

April 13, 2011


Melanie Lockwood Herman


What is risk
What is Risk?

  • Uncertainty surrounding and events and their outcomes that may have a significant effect, either enhancing or inhibiting:

    • Operational performance

    • Achievement of aims and objectives

    • Meeting expectations of stakeholders

What is risk management
What is Risk Management?

  • A discipline for dealing with uncertainty

Examples of risk management
Examples of Risk Management

  • Establishing workplace rules that explain what is expected or required, what is prohibited, and what consequences apply

  • Practicing the plan for evacuating staff and clients from a facility during an emergency

  • Identifying how the organization will spend an unexpected donation, or how the organization will cut costs if revenues fall short of expectations

Key workplace rules and protocols
Key Workplace Rules and Protocols

  • Your staff need to know:

    • What is permitted, encouraged and required

    • What is discouraged and what is strictly prohibited

  • Key rules and policies should be written in language that all employees can understand. Using “legalese” is not productive!

  • Rules and policies are of little benefit if they too long, hard to find or easily misunderstood.

Tips for improving the value of workplace rules
Tips for Improving the Value of Workplace Rules

  • Take the time to explain “why,” not simply “what”

  • Invite comments, suggestions and ways to improve your policies. Be sincere.

  • Look for policies that are hard to understand, hard to follow, or commonly violated. Take action.

Workplace risks special topics
Workplace Risks: Special Topics

  • Sexual harassment

  • Other forms of harassment

  • Workplace bullying

  • Workplace violence

Sexual harassment
Sexual Harassment…

  • Undermines the integrity of the employment relationship

  • Compromises equal employment opportunity

  • Hurts morale in the workplace

  • Interferes with worker productivity

  • Is against the law

Policy prohibiting sexual harassment
Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment

1. No sexual harassment.

2. No retaliation for truthful reports of sexual harassment.

3. No retaliation for cooperating with any investigation related to sexual harassment.

4. Prompt reporting of inappropriate conduct is vital to the implementation of the policy. Employees are urged to promptly report policy violations.

5. Employees who violate these rules will be subject to severe disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Types of sexual harassment
Types of Sexual Harassment

  • Quid pro quo

  • Hostile work environment

Quid pro quo
Quid Pro Quo

  • Means “something for something”

  • Submission to sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment

  • Submission to or rejection of sexual conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions

Hostile work environment
Hostile Work Environment

  • Sexual, abusive or offensive conduct

  • Does not require physical contact

  • Severe or pervasive enough to make a reasonable person of the harassed employee's gender believe that

    • conditions of employment have changed, or

    • working environment has become hostile or abusive.

Broader definition of prohibited harassment
Broader Definition of Prohibited Harassment

  • Definition: The term “harassment” includes sexual and racial harassment as well as harassment based on any other protected classification such as a person’s color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic heritage, mental or physical disability, age and/or appearance. Specifically, sexual harassment may be defined as unwelcome verbal, physical, or sexual conduct including, without limitations, sexual advances, demands for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Examples of prohibited harassment
Examples of Prohibited Harassment

  • Examples of what may be considered harassment, depending on the facts and circumstances, include:

    • Verbal harassment: derogatory comments regarding a person’s race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic heritage, mental or physical disability, age, appearance, or other classification protected by law; threats of physical harm; or distribution of written or graphic material having such effects.

    • Physical harassment: hitting, pushing, or other aggressive physical contact; touching or threats to take such action; gestures or the display of offensive signs or pictures.

Broad policy prohibiting harassment
Broad Policy Prohibiting Harassment

  • Harassment, as defined above, of any employee, volunteer, client or vendor is strictly prohibited.

  • Any employee or volunteer who violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action at the discretion of the Executive Director, including, but not limited to, termination. Clients or vendors who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action or other measures at the discretion of the Executive Director, including, but not limited to, ineligibility for services or termination of the organization’s relationship with the vendor.

  • Prompt reporting of inappropriate conduct is vital to the implementation of this policy. Employees are urged to promptly report policy violations.

Broad anti harassment policy cont d
Broad Anti-Harassment Policy, cont’d.

  • No employee who makes a good faith allegation of harassment will be subject to retaliation. Nor will any employee be retaliated against for participating in any investigation of harassment in the workplace.

  • Allegations of harassment within the workplace are a very serious matter. Therefore, any employee or volunteer who knowingly makes false allegations will be subject to disciplinary actionat the discretion of the Executive Director, including, but not limited to, termination.

When is it workplace harassment
When is it Workplace Harassment?

  • With regard to employees, any action may be considered harassing if it:

    • creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive work environment;

    • unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance; or

    • adversely impacts an individual’s employment opportunities.

Managing harassment risk
Managing Harassment Risk

  • Take the risk seriously

    • Your anti-harassment policy must be “real” to provide an effective defense to claims

  • Think broader than sexual harassment committed by employees, e.g., Third-Party harassment claims

    • Harassment by non-employee

    • Harassment of non-employee

    • Hostile environment due to relationship of other employees

  • Risk Management Strategies?

    • Clear policy (broadly worded)

    • Training

    • Reporting procedures; careful handling of complaints

Workplace bullying
Workplace Bullying

  • Not typically harassment of a protected group or person

  • May not be “illegal” – but potential damage is significant

  • Indiana Supreme Court recently upheld a verdict of $325,000 in a workplace bullying case. Damages were awarded for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Definition workplace bullying
Definition: Workplace Bullying

  • “Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:

    • Verbal abuse

    • Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating

    • Work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done


Bullying vs harassment
Bullying vs. Harassment

  • Bullying is “harassment” as the term is commonly understood, but not necessarily illegal, actionable harassment.

  • Illegal discriminatory harassment occurs in an estimated 20% of workplace bullying cases.*

  • 61% of bullying is same gender harassment.

  • Victims often report serious health effects.


Could your organization be liable
Could Your Organization Be Liable?

  • Healthy Workplace Bill – proposed in 17 states. Would make it an “unlawful employment practice” to subject an employee to an abusive work environment.

  • Other legal risks?

    • Liability under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s “general duty clause” to provide a safe workplace.

    • Liability for negligent hiring if you knowingly hire someone who you knew (or should have known) had a propensity to bully

    • Liability for negligent referral if you fail to warn other employers of an employee’s violent tendencies

Practical strategies to minimize risk of workplace bullying
Practical Strategies to Minimize Risk of Workplace Bullying

  • Reference checks during the hiring process

  • Clear policies about appropriate workplace behavior

  • Prompt investigation of complaints

  • Training in conflict resolution; hold staff accountable

Workplace violence
Workplace Violence

  • Workplace violence is defined by the U.S. government as “violent acts, including physical assaults and threats of assault, directed toward persons at work or on duty” (CDC/NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin, 1996).

  • Workplace violence covers a broad spectrum of events ranging from harassment and/or bullying to homicide.

  • Workplace violence is recognized as a significant occupational hazard in the healthcare and social services sectors, according to CDC & NIOSH (2001).

Risk factors
Risk Factors

  • Working with volatile clients

  • Understaffing

  • Transporting clients

  • Lack of staff training

Workplace violence1
Workplace Violence

  • Violence in the workplace is a safety and health issue

  • The most extreme form—homicide—is the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the U.S.

  • There were 521 workplace homicides of 4,349 fatal work injuries in 2009 (3.3% per 100,000 FTE workers).

  • On a positive note, the total fatal work injuries in 2009 is the smallest annual total since the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program began.

  • During 2009 there were 111 fatalities in health care and social assistance organizations – 3% of the total.

Managing workplace violence risk
Managing Workplace Violence Risk

  • Establish a clear policy and make certain that all employees understand the policy.

  • Ensure that no employee who reports workplace violence faces reprisal.

  • Encourage all employees to promptly report incidents.

  • Provide training or the opportunity to share on-the-job experiences about techniques to recognize escalating agitation, aggressive behavior or criminal intent.

Workplace violence policy elements
Workplace Violence Policy Elements

  • Zero tolerance for violent, abusive conduct, threats of violence, or violent language

  • Requirement that employees report suspicious or unusual behavior that could put others at risk

  • Emergency procedures in the event of any serious act of workplace violence

Workplace violence policy cont d
Workplace Violence Policy, cont’d.

  • Designation of management personnel and/or security personnel who will be responsible to investigate complaints of violence and who will be responsible in the event of an emergency

  • Screening of applicants for past criminal conduct

  • Preservation of management’s right to review employee e-mail, voice mail, and computer files

Workplace violence security analysis
Workplace Violence Security Analysis

  • What environmental and operational risks exist that might lead to violence?

    • Facility design/safety

    • Nature of services provided

    • Circumstances facing clients and employees

  • Reflecting on past experiences that may be helpful in predicting future events

  • Consider an employee questionnaire to determine:

    • If employees have been threatened or assaulted in the past

    • If employees are aware of other crimes occurring at the organization

    • Whether they are aware of weapons being carried or used

Workplace violence security analysis cont d
Workplace Violence Security Analysis, cont’d.

  • The end result:

    • Identify existing security measures

    • Evaluate familiarity with workplace rules and safety protocols

    • Identify potential need for new controls or equipment, such as panic buttons, improved lighting, video surveillance equipment, mirrors at hallway intersections, or door detectors

    • Identify the need for additional training (e.g., conflict resolution) or updated policies (e.g., keycards must be used to enter)

Key steps in the wake of an incident of workplace violence
Key Steps in the Wake of an Incident of Workplace Violence

  • Get medical help for injured victims

  • Report incident to the police and other authorities as appropriate

  • Secure the premises

  • Prepare an incident report without delay

  • Consider crisis counseling or a critical incident stress debriefing for staff and clients

Safety training
Safety Training

  • Ensure that your staff are aware of security hazards and procedures for protecting themselves

  • Clarify policies, including reporting of incidents and the consequences for not following policies

  • Demonstrate proper use of security measures and clarity the purpose of policies and control measures

  • Uncover concerns and worries that staff may have so that you can take action

  • Make certain that your trainer understands the work done by trainees


  • OSHA Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300)

  • Medical reports of work-related injuries and supervisors’ reports of recorded assaults

  • Records of incidents of abuse, verbal attacks or aggressive behavior

  • Documentation of safety meetings, hazard analyses and correction action

  • Record of safety training provided, including attendees

Leadership and managing workplace risks
Leadership and Managing Workplace Risks

  • Your staff are more likely to take action when they


    • others would take similar action

    • something will happen

    • retaliation will not occur

    • they can trust the process

    • that it is expected of them by their managers and peers

Based on research by the Ethics Resource Center Fellows Program

Additional resources
Additional Resources

  • Additional information on a wide range of workplace violence issues can be found at the following website:


Wrap up and evaluation
Wrap Up and Evaluation

  • Please complete the evaluation of this program by clicking here:


Cil net attribution
CIL-NET Attribution

Support for development of this Webinar/teleconference was provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration under grant number H132B070002-10. No official endorsement of the Department of Education should be inferred. Permission is granted for duplication of any portion of this PowerPoint presentation, providing that the following credit is given to the project: Developed as part of the CIL-NET, a project of the IL NET, an ILRU/NCIL/APRIL National Training and Technical Assistance Program.