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Comparative analysis of various international workplace violence approaches and programmes.


The key issue here is what conduct falls within the 'scope' of employment. ... sought to be held liable for the wrongful act of an alleged servant the position ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Comparative analysis of various international workplace violence approaches and programmes.

  • Comparative analysis of various international
    workplace violence approaches and programmes.
  • Excellante - Workplace Trauma Solutions
  • March 2004
  • Gary Watkins

What behaviours are deemed to constitute
workplace violence
  • European Commission in Dublin in May 1995
  • Incidents where persons are abused, threatened or
    assaulted in circumstances related to their work,
    involving an explicit or implicit challenge to
    their safety, well-being and health.
  • Abuse Behaviours that depart from reasonable
    conduct and involve the misuse of physical or
    psychological strength.
  • Threats The menace of death, or the announcement
    of an intention to harm a person or damage their
  • Assault Any attempt at physical injury or attack
    on a person including actual physical harm. Abuse
    covers all forms of harassment, including sexual
    and racial harassment, bullying and mobbing.
  • The above definition became a milestone for
    definitions across Europe.

The meaning of workplace violence
  • There is growing recognition that "violence" goes
    far beyond the reach of physical acts, to include
    various forms of psychological violence. In
    keeping with the terms of reference of the
    International Labour Organization (ILO - 1998)
    who conducted a sweeping survey of international
    workplaces, "violence" is defined in this survey
  • "any incident in which a person is abused,
    threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating
    to their work. These behaviours would originate
    from customers, co-workers at any level of the
    organization. This definition would include all
    forms of harassment, bullying, intimidation,
    physical threats/assaults, robbery and other
    intrusive behaviours"

Physical and psychological violence
  • WHO definition of violence (ILO/ICN/WHO/PSI,
  • Physical violence The use of physical force
    against another person or group that results in
    physical, sexual or psychological harm.
  • Psychological violence Intentional use of power
    against another person or group that can result
    in harm to physical, mental, spiritual, moral or
    social development.

  • Focus on sequence of minor acts
  • Focus on dignity
  • The fusion of bullying and mobbing

Terms used for physical violence
  • those incidents which cause major
  • injury, require medical assistance,
  • require first aid only
  • assault, assaultive incident
  • murder (SWE)
  • fatalities (OSHA)
  • physical or sexual assault
  • attack
  • abusive behaviour (CAL/OSHA)
  • threat ( verbal and non-verbal) threat of
  • assaults threat of sexual nature

Terms used for psychological violence
  • threatening behaviour
  • verbal abuse, verbal attack
  • non-verbal abuse (stalking)
  • bullying
  • ganging up
  • harassment (includes threatening letters,
  • phone-calls (SWE, ACT))
  • health and safety hazards, including fear
  • intimidation

A different typology
  • Workplace violence can be separated into
    different types according to the aggressor and
    his/her relation to the affected work setting or
  • Californian OSHA. Three broad types of workplace
    violence have been identified
  • TYPE I The aggressor has no legitimate
    relationship to the workplace and the main
    objective is to commit a robbery (cash, drugs) or
    other criminal act. (External violence)
  • TYPE II The aggressor is the recipient or the
    object of a service provided by the affected
    workplace or the victim, e. g. a client, patient.
    This may include also relatives or friends of the
    clients. (Client initiated violence)
  • TYPE III The aggressor has an
    employment-related involvement in the work
    setting. Usually it is a another employee , a
    co-worker, a supervisor, a boss , a student
    (internal violence).

What needs to be regulated - workplace violence
  • Basic Elements of a Workplace Violence Prevention
  • Employment Process (Kelleher, 1996)
  • Pre-employment screening.
  • Background checks.
  • Termination process (Kelleher, 1996)
  • Know how to conduct termination.
  • Know when to conduct termination.
  • Have an appropriate place to terminate.
  • Have the appropriate people in attendance.
  • Evaluate the work environment for stress causing
    elements (Kelleher, 1996)
  • Address the problem towards a solution.
  • Intervention Program (Kelleher, 1997)
  • Counseling program.
  • Crisis management team.
  • Zero tolerance policy for violence.
  • Open communications.
  • Threat of violence reporting system. (Braverman,

What needs to be regulated - workplace violence
  • Education and Training (supervisor/employees)
    (Kelleher, 1996)
  • Know signs of trouble
  • How to report threats
  • New policies (supervisors).
  • Conflict resolution.
  • Improve interpersonal skills.
  • New policies (employees)
  • Security Measures (Kelleher, 1996)
  • Evaluate current vulnerabilities

Interactive model of workplace violence
All professions treated the same?
All professions treated the same?
Special focus areas
  • Public service sectors
  • Catering and retail
  • Health care and social services
  • Education
  • Health care and social services

Comparison of approaches to workplace violence in
various jurisdictions
  • Canada
  • Labour Code
  • Duties of Employers
  • Every employer shall ensure that the health and
    safety at work of every person employed by the
    employer is protected.
  • - take the prescribed steps to prevent and
    protect against violence in the work place

  • Respondeat Superior Under this doctrine, an
    employer may be held vicariously liable for the
    tortious conduct of an employee who was acting
    within the scope of his or her employment. The
    key issue here is what conduct falls within the
    "scope" of employment.
  • Negligent hiring An employer may be held liable
    for the negligent or tortious conduct of an
    employee if the employer is found to have
    breached the duty to use reasonable care in the
    screening and selection of paid and volunteer
    staff, particularly with regard to the
    elimination of those candidates whose backgrounds
    evidence the foreseeable possibility of violent
    or sexually abusive behaviors.
  • Negligent Entrustment An employer will most
    commonly be hit with a negligent entrustment
    action when an employee gets into an accident
    while driving a business-owned automobile. To
    prevail, the injured party must show that the
    employer entrusted a company vehicle to a known
    unfit driver and that the accident resulted from
    the employee's incompetence. Whether the employee
    involved was acting within the scope of
    employment is not a concern in a negligent
    entrustment case. The employer's negligent act of
    entrustment, not the scope of employment, forms
    the basis of the tort.
  • General Duty Clause

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living
and Working Conditions, 2003
  • The situation in Europe concerning the regulation
    of workplace violence is extremely varied and
    constantly changing. Within Europe, the spectrum
    of regulatory options has been covered.
  • According to Di Martino (2002c and 2002d), these
    different approaches to regulating and
    controlling the problems of workplace violence
    are a reflection of
  • different perceptions and interpretations of
    workplace violence in European countries due to
    different cultural influences
  • options available for tackling the increasing
    challenge of workplace violence, for example,
    using existing regulations or developing new
    regulatory instruments and
  • different strategies as to the type of
    instruments to be used, favouring the progressive
    approach and flexibility of non-legislative ones
    or tackling the problem with straightforward

South Africa
  • Constitutional provisions against attacks on
    persons dignity
  • General provisions against discrimination and
    harassment in Bill of Rights, LRA, EEA (equality
  • Code of Good Practice (equality legislation)
  • Common law concept of vicarious liability for
    acts of employee in course and scope of
  • General duty clause (?)
  • Voluntary self-regulation
  • Disciplinary codes and regulations
  • Negotiated agreements to prevent WV
  • Criminal provisions
  • Assault, rape, grievous bodily harm etc

South Africa - course and scope of employment
"vicarious liability"
  • Where a person is sought to be held liable for
    the wrongful act of an alleged servant the
    position has always been that it is for the
    plaintiff to prove that the person who did the
    wrong was (a) the servant of the party sought to
    be held liable and (b) that he performed the
    wrongful act in the course or scope of his

  • Innes JA stated that
  • (a) plaintiff who seeks to make a master liable
    for the negligent act of a servant must prove
    that the servant was acting in the course of his
    employment. That onus may conceivably be
    discharged by inference from established facts
    but it does not seem to me to be shifted by the
    mere proof that the act was done at a time when
    and a place where the servant was in his
    masters employ.

A general duty
  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 181
    of 1993) has a general duty clause which places a
    general duty on employers to ensure the health
    and safety of employees"General duties of
    employers to their employees 8. (1) Every
    employer shall provide and maintain, as far as is
    reasonably practicable, a working environment
    that is safe and without risk to the health of
    his employees. "The Act then provides for
    specific employer duties. These specific duties
    do not derogate from the generality of an
    employer's duties.

  • What is workplace violence? - definitions
  • What should a workplace violence programme
  • Should all professions be treated the same?
  • How do different jurisdictions address workplace
  • What laws would be applicable in SA?
  • A single code of conduct, extension of OHSA
    general duty clause or reliance on vicarious
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