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Guidance on Abusive Behavior in the Workplace


Re: Guidance on Abusive Behavior in the Workplace

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to share the guidance recently issued by President Napolitano regarding the University’s expectations for maintaining a productive work environment, including respectful treatment for all members of the campus community. This guidance is not intended to interfere with employees’ right to engage in protected activity under the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA).

On July 26, 2016, President Napolitano distributed a systemwide work group report to the Chancellors encouraging all campuses to help ensure that the working climate for staff is free of abusive conduct or bullying behavior. A systemwide definition has been adopted for the University, consistent with the language of the State legislature’s Assembly Bill 2053, which requires training on the prevention of abusive conduct. Abusive conduct is defined as “conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.”

Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious. The guidance listed here has examples of abusive conduct, as well as responsible supervisory actions.

Along with efforts being undertaken systemwide to prevent and address abusive behavior in the workplace, UCLA has a number of resources dedicated to assisting employees if they encounter such behavior.

The following offices are available to UCLA employees:

Office of Ombuds Services
Provides assistance in resolving conflicts, disputes, or complaints on an informal basis. The Office is independent, neutral and confidential. Contact information: 310-825-7627 or

Employee & Labor Relations – Campus Human Resources
Promotes efforts to resolve workplace concerns and problems through informal and formal conflict management processes. Employee & Labor Relations provides consultation and advice to managers, supervisors, and employees regarding personnel issues, including performance management, corrective actions, and interpretation of policies, procedures, and collective bargaining agreements. Contact information: 310-794-0860.

Behavioral Intervention Team
The Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) is a multidisciplinary team consisting of representatives from Legal Affairs, Staff & Faculty Counseling, Insurance & Risk Management, UCLA Police Department, and Employee & Labor Relations. The team depends on referrals and reviews situations that may pose a significant disruption to the campus environment. Behavior does not need to be illegal to be of concern. Contact information: 310-794-0422 or

Employee Relations – Health Sciences Human Resources
Provides consultation and advice to managers, supervisors and employees regarding personnel issues, including performance management, corrective actions, and interpretation of policies, procedures, and collective bargaining agreements. Contact information: 310-794-0500 or

Title IX Office
Available to consult and provide advice to the UCLA community regarding rights and responsibilities under Title IX, including sexual harassment or discrimination as well as related policies and procedures. Contact information: 310-206-3417 or

Staff Diversity and AA/EEO Compliance Office
Provides assistance on nondiscrimination and harassment complaints, as well as staff affirmative action and equal employment opportunity. Contact information: 310-794-0691 or

Staff and Faculty Counseling Center
Offers a wide range of mental health services, such as confidential counseling for employees and their family members, management consultation, coaching, training, support groups, and community resource referrals. Contact information: 310-794-0245 or visit their website for more information:

We appreciate your support in encouraging all employees to observe the Presidential Guidance on abusive conduct in the workplace and bullying prevention. Please ensure that this information is distributed widely to staff in your organization.


Lubbe Levin
Associate Vice Chancellor
Campus Human Resources

Susi Takeuchi
Chief Human Resources Officer
Health Sciences

Related Information

Assembly Bill 2053

Guidance Regarding Staff Abusive Conduct & Bullying

Report to the President