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What should I do if someone at work is being violent or threatening me?

Question
What should I do if someone at work is being violent or threatening me?

Glossary

Clear language definitions to common legal terms. 

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Reviewed: 
October, 2015
Answer

Workplace violence is anything a person does because they want to hurt you or someone else at your job. It also includes:

  • any time someone threatens to hurt another person, even if they don't act on it
  • sexual violence or domestic violence, even if the person who is hurting you does not work with you, for example, if your partner visits you at work and hurts you, that is workplace violence
  • violence done by customers, clients, visitors, your employer, your supervisor, or anyone else in your workplace

If the violence or threats happen at your job, it's workplace violence and your employer must try to help you.

Workplace violence policy

Your employer must take steps before something happens to protect you from violence at work.

To do this, your employer must have a policy about how to prevent violence and what they will do if violence happens.

When making the policy, they have to think about:

  • the tasks you do
  • problems that have happened at similar workplaces
  • all of the people you deal with at your job and what they’re like

Your employer also has to think about the environment you work in, including:

  • who will be there
  • whether you work with the public
  • the lighting in your space
  • the air flow or ventilation
  • how much of the space you can see
  • whether you work alone
  • whether you work in very hot or very cold temperatures
  • machines or chemicals that are nearby

Your employer must follow their policy. They must do everything they reasonably can to protect you from violence at work.

Training about workplace violence

Your employer must give you training about:

  • how to use safety procedures or equipment to keep yourself safe from violence
  • how to get help quickly if someone is in danger
  • how to report problems to your employer
  • what your employer will do if there is a problem
Learn more about this topic
Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA)

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