Update on CUNY's Online Workplace Violence Prevention Training

Updated: October 27, 2015

PSC representatives met on May 19, 2011 with CUNY about the status of workplace violence prevention (WVP) programs and the online training.

Under the State’s Public Employee Safety & Health (PESH) Workplace Violence Prevention (WVP) Standard, CUNY must provide each employee annually with information and training on the risk of workplace violence in their workplace and how to respond. At the meeting, the PSC representatives were told that PESH is requiring CUNY to complete the initial WVP training of employees by July 28. CUNY acknowledges that the online training currently being provided is not campus-specific and therefore will not identify campus-specific risk factors and specific measures employees can take to protect themselves. (Members have also commented that the training does not address classroom work situations.) The generic online training is being offered now to encourage maximum participation before the semester ends and to enable CUNY to meet the July 28th deadline.

CUNY will be submitting campus-specific WVP programs (which have only just been finished) to PESH this week in order to meet another PESH deadline. It is the union’s understanding that each program will be available at the respective campus HR and Public Safety Offices shortly thereafter. The online training will be augmented by campus-specific training over the coming year that references each campus’ WVP program. University representatives said they believe employees’ concerns about personal identity/password security related to the online training have been addressed.

The prevention of workplace violence is a shared goal. PSC’s concerns about the online training—that it isn’t campus specific and that there are no campus-specific WVP programs in place—have been acknowledged and will be remedied, according to CUNY officials. The union does not know whether PESH will determine that this online training meets the WVP standard. PSC will continue to monitor CUNY’s progress in coming into compliance with the workplace violence prevention standard. CUNY has committed to keep PSC better informed about the actions it is taking.

In the meantime, CUNY is required to offer WVP training to employees, and employees are expected to comply. If there are circumstances that make it difficult for members to comply, they should contact a PSC grievance counselor on the campus or at the PSC office. The PSC Health & Safety Watchdogs hswatchdogs@pscmail.org are also a useful resource.

Debbie Bell
PSC Executive Director