Workplace Threats

Who to call

  • To report a direct threat to self, others or property, call 911 immediately.
  • If someone reports violent statements, threats or feelings of uneasiness about a workplace situation, call the Behavior Concerns Advice Line (BCAL) at 512-232-5050 anytime (24 hours a day).
  • If you are not in immediate danger but have uneasy feelings of fear or discomfort about a workplace situation, including violent statements or indirect threats, call the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 512-471-3366. For urgent matters after-hours, call 512-471-3399.

You may use the following resources to learn how to assess and respond to threats in the workplace, and refer to the university's Prohibition of Campus Violence Policy for more information about your role in keeping the campus safe.

The Range of Aggressive and Threatening Behaviors

As you assess the safety of personal interactions in the workplace, keep an eye out for the following behavior patterns:

  • Belligerent posture
  • Excessive fault-finding and complaining
  • Verbal put-downs, sarcasm
  • Hostile gestures
  • Bullying
  • Discrimination/harassment
  • Verbal outburst, profanity
  • Name-calling, verbal attack
  • Indirect verbal threat
  • Direct verbal threat
  • Threat with imminent danger
  • Physical violence

Behavioral Red Flags for Potential Violence

The following behaviors are red flags of a potential for violence:

  • Dramatic change in work habits
  • Argumentative and/or overly suspicious; talking about revenge or vengeance; comes across as gloomy and/or angry
  • Deterioration in social relationships, "loner"
  • Emotional expression that doesn't fit the context
  • Noticeable decline in personal grooming
  • Delusional — believes outlandish conspiracy theories, makes wildly improbable statements, views the accidents and mistakes of others as intentional and aimed at him/her
  • Grandiose — always has to be right and overestimates their value as a worker and the quality of their work
  • Extremist opinions; intolerant of other points of view
  • Recent significant stress or loss (for example, divorce, termination from job, failed exams)

Initiating a Threat Assessment

A threat assessment can be initiated by anyone who has a concern about aggressive, threatening, intimidating, bullying, or other inappropriate and possibly unsafe behavior on campus. You may begin the threat assessment process by consulting with an EAP counselor who can then assist with initial threat assessment, work with you or your department head in any subsequent investigations, and coordinate any necessary efforts with the university's legal department or police department. To initiate the threat assessment process, contact the EAP at 512-471-3366. In the event of an immediate, life-threatening crisis, call 911. For non-crisis urgent matters after-hours, call 512-471-3399.