OLR RESEARCH REPORT
November 14, 2008 2008-R-0623
BULLYING AND THE STATE ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY FOR
By: John Moran, Principal Analyst
You asked for a summary of the state’s zero tolerance policy for
workplace violence and whether it addresses workplace bullying.
In 1999, Executive Order No. 16 outlined a new violence in the
workplace prevention policy and directed all state agency personnel,
contractors, and vendors to comply with it. In addition to prohibiting
violence and the use of weapons, the order prohibits employees from
threatening harm to any individual in a state worksite.
It further requires (1) employees who feel subjected to or witness
violent, threatening, harassing, or intimidating behavior in their
workplace to immediately report it and (2) managers and supervisors to
contact their human resources office and take other appropriate steps. If
an investigation determines there is a violation, the employee in question
can be disciplined up to and including discharge from state services. It
appears the policy covers much of what is considered workplace bullying.
Since the executive order was issued the Statewide Security
Management Council, which includes representatives of state agencies,
the governor’s office, and two union representatives, has developed a
comprehensive Violence in the Workplace Policy and Procedures Manual
that provides details for (1) preventative actions state agencies must
take; (2) what constitutes violence or other inappropriate behavior; and
(3) what steps must be taken to address incidents of violence, threats, or
Mary M. Janicki, Director Room 5300
Phone (860) 240-8400 Legislative Office Building
FAX (860) 240-8881 Connecticut General Assembly Hartford, CT 06106-1591
http://www.cga.ct.gov/olr Office of Legislative Research Olr@cga.ct.gov
Recently, Department of Administrative Services (DAS) legislative
liaison Andrea Keilty indicated that reports of violence, threats, or
harassment have been treated seriously and some investigations resulted
in employees being disciplined and even fired.
OVERVIEW OF STATEWIDE VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE POLICY
On March 6, 1998, a disgruntled employee, returning to work after a
leave to treat stress, went on a shooting rampage at the Connecticut
Lottery Office and killed four people and then himself.
In the aftermath, the state announced a comprehensive statewide
security initiative to review security measures at all state buildings and
establish security standards.
The following year, the legislature enacted PA 99-220. It established
the Statewide Security Management Council, required the Department of
Public Works (DPW) to establish safety standards, and authorized DPW
to conduct security audits of state facilities.
A few months later, Gov. Rowland issued Executive Order No. 16 (see
attachment 1) that banned state employees from bringing weapons or
dangerous instruments onto any state worksite (unless required to as a
condition of employment). In addition to addressing violence in the
workplace, the order addressed threatening, harassing, or intimidating
behavior and required employees to report such behavior immediately.
The security council has since issued a detailed Violence in the
Workplace Policy and Procedures Manual, based on the executive order,
for all executive branch agencies to follow.
Statewide Security Management Council
PA 99-220 included a number of provisions regarding employee
safety. It established DPW as the primary agency responsible for
maintaining security in state buildings and created the security council
to help coordinate security activities in state agencies. By law, the
council consists of:
1. the commissioners of Public Safety, DAS, mental health and
addiction services, DPW, and Emergency Management and
2. the Office of Police and Management secretary,
November 14, 2008 Page 2 of 4 2008-R-0623
3. the Legislative Management executive director,
4. the chief court administrator,
5. a representative of the Governor,
6. a representative of the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition
and the president of the Connecticut State Police Union or his
7. an attorney appointed by DPW commissioner (CGS § 4b-136).
The DPW commissioner serves as the council chairperson.
Violence in the Workplace Policy and Procedures
The policy and procedures incorporate Executive Order No. 16 into
the manual and elaborate on it. The manual’s purpose is to provide
direction to human resources personnel in preventing and responding to
violent incidents and perceived threats of violence in the workplace. The
manual outlines the components of the anti-violence effort: policy,
procedures, workplace security assessment, control and prevention,
training, and other support services.
The goal of the policy and manual is to:
reduce the probability that employees will engage in verbal threats
or physical actions that create a security hazard for others in the
ensure that any complaint of violence or threat of violence is taken
seriously and is thoroughly and promptly investigated.
All executive branch agencies were instructed to adopt the manual or
modify their policies to comply with the manual. It also became part of
the DAS training for human resource personnel. DAS has broad
authority to establish and administer personnel policy for state
employees (CGS § 4a-2).
The manual outlines the role of each agency’s human resources office
including requiring each to (1) respond to and investigate all complaints
and (2) establish a threat assessment team. The teams, which must
November 14, 2008 Page 3 of 4 2008-R-0623
include a human resources professional and an employee assistance
program (EAP) provider, handle workplace violence complaints, identify
the potential for violence, and work on violence prevention.
The workplace violence policy addresses much of what is considered
bullying by including the following in the definition of violence:
intimidating or threatening behaviors,
offensive comments regarding violent acts or behaviors, and
any other acts which a reasonable person would consider as
inappropriate or posing a danger or threat of danger in the
workplace. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to, oral,
written, or e-mail statements, gestures, or expressions that
communicate a direct or indirect threat of physical harm.
The manual emphasizes that all reports of incidents must be taken
seriously and dealt with thoroughly. All reports are to be immediately
evaluated and investigated and management must take proper action
upon completion of the investigation.
Violations of the policy can lead to disciplinary action ranging from an
EAP referral or an oral warning to suspension or dismissal from
November 14, 2008 Page 4 of 4 2008-R-0623