CDC Issues Guidance Promoting Conflict Resolution Training during COVID-19 - Pollack Peacebuilding Systems

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a statement discouraging employees from arguing with customers that do not follow safe COVID-19 protocols (a.k.a. not wearing a mask or observing social distancing rules.) This guidance has arrived in the wake of violent incidents across the United States between employees and customers, coworkers, and employers trying to enforce COVID-19 safety protocols.

The CDC’s new statement was released in efforts to reduce workplace violence across the United States, primarily in retail, services, and other customer-based organizations. A 1996 study completed by the CDC showed that workplace violence incidents are more likely to occur in customer-based businesses.

Employer and Employee Action Items

With this in mind, the CDC’s statement recommends action items for employers to mitigate potential workplace violence. These action items include offering customers curbside pick-up options, advertising new policies related to COVID-19 on the company website, establishing steps on dealing with workplace violence when it occurs, and more.

The CDC also gave recommendations for employees on what to do and what not to do to prevent workplace violence. The recommendations include remaining aware of situations that may turn violent while supporting customers and coworkers in the process, reporting potential threats to management, and attending all trainings provided by the employer on addressing these situations. Employees were additionally discouraged from arguing with customers not following safety protocol and from forcing anyone to follow COVID-19 policies.

Conflict Resolution Training

Notable among the action items for both employers and employees are the recommendations of providing and attending workplace conflict resolution training. The CDC highly recommends that training is given by employers on how to identify and safely respond to potentially violent situations. This includes identifying verbal and non-verbal warning signs as well as responding with non-threatening body language and non-violent communication.

Considering the cost of conflict in the workplace is, at times, the presence of verbally and physically violent situations, undergoing trainings like these is crucial for employees. Conflict resolution training not only helps prevent and appropriately deal with violent situations, but it also has many benefits for employees like higher levels of engagement and improved talent. De-escalation training is additionally helpful for employers and employees hoping to better prevent workplace violence because it prioritizes individual safety while dealing calmly with aggressive behavior.

Pollack Peacebuilding Systems offers both conflict resolution training and de-escalation training, teaching participants clear skills and straightforward tactics to handle difficult situations. When deciding on who trust with teaching your employees critical conflict resolution and de-escalation skills, consider our specialized professionals who take a comprehensive and custom approach to help your organization. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.

CDC issues guidance

Noah Shaw

Noah is the Peace Operations Coordinator at Pollack Peacebuilding Systems and holds a Master's in Dispute Resolution from the Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law.

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