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Appendix D: Dealing with Threatening or Potentially Violent Behavior


The UCSF Zero Tolerance Standard for Workplace Violence states in part:

UCSF is committed to maintaining a safe workplace that is free from threats and acts of intimidation and violence. When faced with these situations UCSF has taken swift and remedial action to protect the rights of employees, faculty and students… The Standard is intended to bring awareness to all on campus that threats or acts of violence and intimidation are taken seriously and will be investigated.

The Threat Management Team (TMT) was established by UCSF in response to concerns about workplace violence and as a means to implement the Zero Tolerance Standard. The TMT coordinates responses to concerns raised by Campus and Medical Center administrators, faculty, staff and students. The team is intended to augment existing University systems and is convened whenever departments need help responding to a potentially dangerous situation. It is comprised of several campus units (see below) with special expertise and professional training in assessing and handling violence in the workplace. These units work together systematically to assess and address behavior perceived as disruptive, intimidating, threatening, or violent.


Any act of intimidation, threat of violence, or act of violence committed against any person on the property of the University of California, San Francisco is prohibited.




Some Warning Signs
Managers and supervisors are urged to respond EVERY time to threats, intimidation, and/or actual violence, but to use common sense when assessing potentially violent behavior. Even though this section lists some behaviors that may indicate a potential for violence, it is important to keep in mind that these characteristics do not necessarily predict violence and that some violent people may display no symptoms at work. Keep in mind that some of these characteristics may apply to otherwise productive employees, most of whom would never commit a violent act. In cases where a person's behavior is ambiguous, ask yourself and train your staff to consider, these two questions:

  1. Might the behavior(s) be potential or actual acts of intimidation or threat?
  2. Might other individuals informed of the behavior(s), consider them potential and,or actual  acts of intimidation or threat? 

Commonly identified behaviors that may signal the potential for violence:

What you can do: Do not ignore or downplay direct or indirect threats from any person, as they could escalate into serious incidents later on. To prevent the escalation of such incidents, every member of the campus community should learn to recognize and report behavior that is disruptive, intimidating, or could potentially lead to violence. All managers and supervisors are encouraged to take the Violence in the Workplace training offered periodically by the TMT. You should also ensure that employees in your department are familiarized with the Zero Tolerance Standard, including its Procedures for reporting any events covered by it. As a supervisor, you should take immediate steps to address problem behavior and ensure the safety of your employees. In addition to careful documentation of the incident, your primary responsibility is to notify a member of the TMT immediately.

The units that comprise the TMT are as follows:

  1. UCSF Police Department (415-476-1414): The role of the UCPD in the TMT is to investigate possible criminal background and activity, determine weapons ownership, provide security in situations of violence and imminent risk, and contribute its expertise to the risk assessment process. In all cases of actual or imminent violence, call 9-911 immediately.
  2. Medical Center - Department of Security Services  (415-885-7890): The role of Security in the TMT is to ensure the safety of Medical Center employees and facilities, work in conjunction with the UCPD in areas shared with Campus, and contribute its expertise to the risk assessment process.
  3. Faculty & Staff Assistance Program (415-476-8279): The role of FSAP on the TMT is to advise on all relevant psychological and behavioral signs, symptoms, and risk factors of actual or potential violence that necessitate threat management. In addition, FSAP arranges Fitness for Duty and Return to Work procedures when indicated, and provides individual assessment, counseling and group debriefings for employees impacted by such situations.
  4. Legal Affairs (415-476-5003): The role of Legal Affairs in the TMT is to ensure that all UC (as well as relevant state and federal) laws and regulations are duly discussed and observed in the course of Team deliberations, recommendations and interventions, as well as to manage liaisons with outside legal counsel.
  5. Labor & Employee Relations (Campus:415- 476-3908; Medical Center :415-514-4946): The role of Labor & Employee Relations in the TMT is to keep the Team cognizant of, and compliant with, UC labor policy and procedure, collective bargaining and employment-related legal issues, investigate relevant employment history, and ensure that disciplinary and other recommended actions are handled with appropriate autonomy from the TMT process itself.

Planning & Prevention: Managers and supervisors in your department might wish to discuss and plan for preventing and responding to such issues, including educating staff, students, and faculty. You should take into account the nature of your work, your location, staffing, and other unique features such as whether your unit handles cash or is responsible for issues that people feel passionate about. Some actions to consider:


The cooperation of everyone is a crucial part of keeping our campus safe. Your full commitment and assistance is required to ensure that the essential University mission can be achieved in a safe and healthy environment.

Available Violence in the Workplace training: TMT members provide consultation and education on Zero Tolerance, violence risk assessment, threat management intervention, and violence in the workplace training.  Please contact any unit or department on the TMT for consultation and further information about their services.

UCSF Threat Management Team:

UCSF Police Department

Faculty and Staff Assistance Program

Campus Labor and Employee Relations

Medical Center Labor and Employee Relations

Office of Legal Council

Medical Center Department of Security Services