Policy Number: 11-032

Workplace Violence

Category: Human Resources

Responsible Executive: Vice President for Human Resources

Responsible Office: Human Resources

1. Policy Statement

The purpose of this policy is to outline the University of Florida’s prohibition against violent and threatening and disruptive conduct covering all university employees, volunteers, contractors vendors and visitors. This policy also outlines reporting responsibilities and options should a safety concern arise within the University community.

An essential goal of the University of Florida is to maintain a safe, professional, and collegial community for faculty, staff, students, volunteers, vendors, and visitors.

UF does not expect that members of the UF community will experience violence or threats of violence while engaged in UF activities. However, disruptive, threatening, or violent conduct can occur anywhere.

This policy is designed to emphasize acceptable conduct and describe conduct which should be promptly reported. Furthermore, this information is designed to help empower UF community members to know how to report conduct that may be considered disruptive, threatening, or violent. 

2. Applicability

This policy applies to employees, volunteers, contractors, vendors and visitors conducting or engaging in UF academic, business, or extracurricular operations, whether on or off UF property. 

3. Definitions

Violent Conduct: Violent behavior is physical force intended to, or that a reasonable person should know could, injure or damage a person or property.

Threatening Conduct: Threatening behavior is a verbal or nonverbal threat, or a combination of the two, including threats delivered by electronic communication or implied by a pattern of conduct, which places the person who is the target of the threat in reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family members or individuals closely associated with the person, and which is made with the apparent ability to carry out the threat to cause such harm.

Disruptive Conduct: Disruptive conduct is conduct that is materially or substantially disruptive to the normal operations of the University, or that incites others to do so, in any of the following activities: teaching, research, administrative functions, disciplinary proceedings, other university activities whether on or off campus, and other authorized activities that take place on campus. In evaluating whether conduct is materially or substantially disruptive, the University considers the totality of factors, including but not limited to whether there was an intent to prevent the activity or event from continuing to completion and whether the conduct was a sustained and continuous disruption. Disruptive conduct does not include any conduct protected by the First Amendment. 

4. Policy Specifics

The University of Florida is committed to creating and maintaining an environment that is safe and free from violence. To foster a positive working and learning environment, UF prioritizes the physical safety of anyone engaged in UF activities. University employees share the responsibility and are expected to maintain conduct that does not incite acts of violence, threats, and aggression.

UF prohibits violent acts, the making of direct or implied threats, harassing or discriminatory conduct, being verbally or physically abusive, stalking, intimidating, bullying, and engaging in other conduct that disrupts University activities or cause others to reasonably fear for their safety.

When substantiated, acts of violence, threats, and aggression constitute misconduct and will result in appropriate university response including, for example, disciplinary action, up to and including termination, and reporting of the conduct to law enforcement.

UF also prohibits conduct that may threaten the security of UF property, as well as personal property that may be located on UF property.

While university administrators and supervisors are required to both report and take action, when alerted to prohibited conduct, UF relies on every member of its community to report prohibited conduct (“when you see something, say something”). 

4.1 Basic Responsibilities.

All employees, volunteers, contractors, vendors and visitors involved in UF academic, business, or extracurricular operations, whether on or off UF property, are expected to: (1) conduct themselves in a non-violent and non-threatening manner; and (2) report any violent or threatening conduct that they witness. 

4.1.1 Employee Responsibilities. Every UF faculty and staff member contributes to fostering and maintaining a safe and collegial work environment. Each employee will treat others with dignity and respect whenever they are engaged in UF affairs.

UF employees are expected to be familiar with UF regulations and policies prohibiting workplace violence; promptly report actual and potential acts of violence; cooperate in investigations/assessments of allegations of inappropriate conduct in the workplace; and contact law enforcement (when appropriate), their supervisor, University of Florida Human Resources (UFHR) – Employee Relations and/or the Title IX Office to report concerns about workplace violence and threats of violence.

UF employees should report to their supervisor concerns about colleagues exhibiting changes in conduct. Employees should be sure to note if the examples of disruptive conduct are becoming more frequent and/or more severe. 

4.1.2 Supervisor Responsibilities. UF supervisors have a heightened obligation to foster and maintain a safe work environment and to promptly address and report workplace violence and threats of violence.

UF Supervisors are expected to be familiar with UF policies prohibiting workplace violence; take seriously all reported incidents of workplace violence; promptly report actual and potential acts of violence; cooperate in investigations/assessments of allegations of workplace violence; contact law enforcement (when appropriate); and promptly report to UFHR – Employee Relations, acts and allegations of workplace violence. Additionally, supervisors are expected to be knowledgeable about resources available for themselves and for employees (such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), training on conflict resolution and stress management) and should seek prompt guidance from UFHR – Employee Relations whenever there are concerns about possible workplace violence. 

4.1.3 Volunteer, Vendor, and Visitor Responsibilities. UF expects every volunteer, vendor, and visitor to conduct themselves in a lawful, non-violent, and non-threatening manner when engaged in any UF volunteering or business activities, or visiting UF property. UF further expects volunteers, vendors, and visitors will promptly report directly to law enforcement any witnessed or suspected acts of violence committed on UF property or in the course of UF activities. Reports can be made to law enforcement (when appropriate) or to UFHR – Employee Relations.

4.2 Reporting Obligations and Process

4.2.1 Crisis Intervention. Should an actual incident of violence occur, it is important to have a plan of action in place. In the event an incident of violence does occur:

  • Call UFPD: University of Florida Police Department (UFPD) is a fully accredited police department serving the University of Florida campus. UFPD should be considered the first point of contact for safety concerns on campus. In any emergency, the first call should be to UFPD (or local law enforcement, if off campus) at (352) 392-1111. Dial 911 for emergencies.
  • Document: Witnesses should document all details involving the incident for accurate recall later. A precise description of the incident, the perpetrator, physical descriptions of the setting, etc., is critical. Any relevant documents, photos, videos, text messages should be retained and provided to UFPD.
  • Inform Department Heads/Administrators: The impacted department heads and administrators should be informed of the situation as soon as possible. This would include the Dean, Chair’s or Director’s office; the UFHR  Director of Employee Relations, when employees are impacted; and the Dean of Students, when students are impacted.
  • Confidential Support Resources: Even if an incident is not severe, it may impact faculty, staff, and students in different ways. Impacted faculty and staff should be reminded of confidential reporting resources such as the  Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and UFHR Employee Relations. Students should be reminded of the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC). UFPD also offers Victims Services. See below “Additional Resources” for additional support options.
  • Non-Confidential Student Support Resources: Students should also be aware of non-confidential resources available with the Dean of Students Office Care Team as well as UMatter.
  • Refer Media to Public Relations: Incidents of violence at UF may attract media attention. Faculty and staff may not respond to any press or media inquiries regarding any university matter. Any such inquiries for information or comment must be directed to the University Relations ((352) 846-3903).

4.2.2 Reporting Guidance for Violent Conduct

Immediately Report to UFPD: Any threat or act of violence creating an imminent concern for physical safety should be immediately reported to the University of Florida Police Department (UFPD) by calling 911 or (352) 392-1111. Call 911 or local law enforcement, if off campus.

Reporting by Employees: After law enforcement has been notified, any UF employee witnessing Violent Conduct (defined below in Section 4.3.1) by another employee or campus visitor is expected to report such conduct to their immediate supervisor, the immediate supervisor of the person engaged in the conduct (if known), the employee’s HR Liaison, or the Director of Employee Relations at (352) 392-1072.

4.2.3 Reporting Guidance for Threatening Conduct

Reporting by Employees: Any UF employee witnessing Threatening Conduct (defined below in Section 4.3.2) by another employee or campus visitor is expected to report such conduct to UFPD. Additionally, they should report such conduct to their own immediate supervisor, the immediate supervisor of the person engaged in the conduct (if known), the HR Liaison, Department Head, or the UFHR Director of Employee Relations at (352) 392-1072. Another alternative is to report the threatening behavior to the UF Compliance Hotline.

Reporting to UFPD: If the threatening behavior appears to be escalating or if the threatening conduct has people fearing for their own safety, such conduct may be directly reported to the University Police Department (UFPD). For situations that are emergent or appear to be escalating into an emergent situation, call 911. For non-emergent situations, UFPD can be reached at (352) 392-1111.

4.2.4 Reporting Guidance for Disruptive Conduct

Reporting by Employees: Any UF employee witnessing Disruptive Conduct (defined below in Section 4.3.3) by another employee or campus visitor is expected to report such conduct to their own immediate supervisor, the immediate supervisor of the person engaged in the conduct (if known), the HR Liaison, Department Head, or the Director of Employee Relations at (352) 392-1072. Another alternative is to report the disruptive conduct to the UF Compliance Hotline.

5. Review and Adjudication

The following is the department, office, or individual responsible for overseeing implementation of and assuring compliance with this policy. Any individual with questions about the policy should contact:

UFHR – Employee Relations
903 W. University Avenue
P.O. Box 115000
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-1072

6. Policy Violations

Failure to comply with this policy could result in disciplinary action for employees, up to and including termination. Volunteers may have their volunteer status terminated. Individuals may be trespassed from campus by UFPD, when warranted.

Additional Resources

UF Reg. 1.006, Non-Discrimination/Harassment/Invasion of Privacy Policies
UF Regulation 1.008 Disruptive Behavior
UF Reg. 1.0081, Prohibition of Hazing; Procedures and Penalties
UF Reg. 3.047, Finance and Administration; University Support Personnel System; Disciplinary Procedures
UF Reg. 7.048,   Academic Affairs; Suspension, Termination, and Other Disciplinary Action for  Faculty:  Definition of Just Cause, Termination, Suspension, and Other Disciplinary Action, Suspension pending Investigation, Notification and Records of Disciplinary Action 


History: Updated 1-1-2019