What is workplace violence?

Workplace violence is violence or the threat of violence against workers. It can occur at or outside the workplace and can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide, one of the leading causes of job-related deaths. However it manifests itself, workplace violence is a growing concern for employers and employees nationwide. 

Circumstances associated with workplace violence events can be divided into three major types, Type I, II, III and IV. It is important to keep in mind that a particular occupation or workplace may be subject to more than one type. One type is no more important than another.


Type I​​

The person or persons committing the act of violence has no legitimate relationship to the workplace.

Violence By Stranger


Type II

The person or persons committing the act of violence is the recipient of the services we provide.

Violence By Client


Type III ​​​

The person or persons committing the act of violence has an employment related involvement past or present.

Violence By Co-Worker


Type IV

The person committing the act of violence has a personal relationship with an employee at the location.

Violence By Personal Relations


Workplace Violence Includes;


  • Threatening behavior - such as shaking fists, destroying property or throwing objects.  
  •  Verbal or written threats - any expression of an intent to inflict harm. 
  • Harassment - any behavior that demeans, embarrasses, humiliates, annoys, alarms or verbally abuses a person and that is known or expected to be unwelcome. This includes words, gestures, intimidation, bullying, or other inappropriate activities.  
  • Verbal abuse - swearing, insults or condescending language.



The County of Riverside does not tolerate any type of workplace violence committed by or against employees. Employees are prohibited from making threats or engaging in violent activities. The list of zero tolerance behaviors with regard to threats and/or violence shall include, but not be limited to, the following proactive measures and/or prohibited behaviors:


  • ​​​​​​​​Engaging or allowing engagement in violent conduct or making threats of violence, implied, actual, direct, or indirect, or causing actual physical injury to another person at a county workplace or in connection with the conduct of county business. 
  • Any aggressive or hostile behavior that creates a reasonable fear of injury to another person or subjects another individual to emotional distress.  
  • Intentionally damaging County of Riverside property or the property of another.  
  • Being in possession of an offensive or defensive weapon (firearm, knife, club, mace, pepper spray, tear gas, etc.) unless specifically required or authorized in the course of employment, at any county facility or in connection with the conduct of county business without regard to location.  
  • Committing acts motivated by, or related to, sexual harassment or domestic violence.


Any potentially dangerous situation must be reported immediately to a supervisor and the Human Resources Department – Safety Office, at telephone number (951) 955-3520 or the    24-hour hotline (951) 955-5868. Reports can be made anonymously and all reported incidents would be investigated. Reports or incidents warranting confidentiality will be handled appropriately and information will be disclosed to others only on a need-to-know basis. All parties involved in a situation will be counseled and results of the investigation will be discussed with them. The county will actively intervene at any indication of a possible hostile or violent situation.

How can the employees protect themselves?


Nothing can guarantee that an employee will not become a victim of workplace violence. These steps, however, can help reduce the odds:


  •  Learn how to recognize, avoid, potentially violent situations.
  •  Attend Employee Workplace Violence Training offered by the Safety Division (CorLearning for schedule of training both WebEx and Classroom classes available). 
  • Alert supervisors to any concerns about safety or security and report all incidents immediately in writing.  
  • Avoid traveling alone into unfamiliar locations or situations whenever possible.


Workplace Threat Incident Report Against County of Riverside Employee 


Effective Planning and Preparation for workplace violence incidents can significantly improve your chances of weathering such an incident with minimum loss, disruption and emotional trauma for all involved.


Moreover, good emergency preparedness provides peace of mind to managers and employees. It also fosters a positive attitude throughout the organization that workplace violence incidents can be survived and managed effectively.

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