Violence in the workplace is an important safety and health issue, one that is too often overlooked or ignored. In many cases, a violent incident can be avoided, because occurrences are often preceded by warning signs. However, these signals frequently go unrecognized--or are recognized, but disregarded. Generally, violence develops over time--which means that with proper implementation of an antiviolence policy, employers have a chance to recognize the early signs of violence and stop it before it explodes. There is more information on how to handle and respond to violence in the workplace. Please see the national Violence in the Workplace section.
Virginia law protects employees who report coworkers exhibiting violent behavior. Any employee who, in good faith with reasonable cause and without malice, truthfully reports threatening conduct by a co-worker will be immune from civil liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as the result of making such a report. The law defines "threatening conduct" as any conduct that would make a person reasonably fear death or bodily injury (VA Code Sec. 40.1-51.4:5).