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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release October 27, 1997
                            WORKPLACE VIOLENCE 

Guidelines Call For Programs To Respond To Violence Against Federal Employees

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In an effort to reduce violence in the workplace, Vice President Gore today (10/27) issued guidelines to federal departments and agencies aimed at helping them create a safer work environment.

President Clinton and I are committed to preventing violence in the federal government. These new guidelines will help protect federal employees through a step-by-step process in case of an emergency. More importantly, they direct federal departments and agencies to recognize signs of violence and intervene safely to prevent it. By planning ahead, we will save lives, the Vice President said.

The Vice President was joined at the event by Elaine Mirabella, a formerly battered woman; Paul Charron, CEO of Liz Claiborne; Dennis Strigl, CEO of Bell Atlantic Mobile; Donna Shalala, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Janice Lachance, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management; and Eric Holder, Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice. Mirabella, a federal employee, spoke about her experience of violence in the workplace. Charron and Strigl explained how each of their companies address the issue of domestic violence and violence in the workplace.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In 1995, President Clinton directed federal departments and agencies to institute awareness campaigns to provide information on programs and resources available for victims of domestic violence. In response to the directive, the Office of Personnel Management formed a governmentwide interdisciplinary team to share expertise in preventing and dealing with workplace violence.

The cooperative effort resulted in the guidelines announced by the Vice President today: Dealing With Workplace Violence: A Guide for Agency Planners. The guidelines explain how to develop programs to respond to violence against federal employees, including domestic violence, as well as threatening, harassing, and intimidating behavior.

OPM Acting Director Janice Lachance said, All too often, domestic violence underlies workplace violence. These new guidelines will assist federal agencies in creating a safer workplace for federal employees.

The guidelines will help officials develop programs that dovetail with their unique workplace environment. They also will provide an interdisciplinary approach, suggesting that agencies assemble a team of experts from management, human resources, mental health, legal affairs, security, and law enforcement to deal with violence issues.

The guidelines steer the team through a process that will scrutinize the agency's current ability to handle potentially violent situations; fill skills gaps where they exist; develop procedures for reporting incidents; and develop response plans. In addition, the guidelines outline an array of strategies for reducing the risk of workplace violence, including such diverse approaches as training, alternative dispute resolution programs, employee counseling programs, labor union involvement, and physical security measures.

The guide can be found on OPM's website at located in the topical index under violence.