California’s New Workplace Violence Prevention Law

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by Jennifer Shaw and Melissa Whitehead | | October 16, 2023

California’s Governor Newsom recently signed SB 553, requiring the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health to adopt a general industry workplace violence regulation by December 31, 2026. In the meantime, all California employers with one or more employees (working in any state) must implement a workplace violence prevention plan (“WVPP”) plan by July 1, 2024.

The Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

WVPPs may be included as a stand-alone section of an employer’s Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (“IIPP”) or created in a separate document.  Certain information must be included, such as procedures to encourage employees to identify workplace violence hazards and appropriate investigation processes to respond and correct such hazards.  Employers must train their employees on the WVPP upon implementation, on an annual basis, and when they become aware of a new or previously unrecognized workplace violence hazard. Employers also must prepare “violent incident logs” for every workplace violence incident.

The new law requires employers to maintain for five years records of workplace violence hazard identification, investigation, evaluation and correction, and violent incident logs.  They must retain training records for one year.

The following employers are exempt from these requirements:

  • Most healthcare facilities and operations, including hospitals and outpatient clinics, emergency medical and transport services, drug treatment programs, and more
  • Facilities operated by the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation
  • Law enforcement agencies in compliance with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training Programs
  • Employees teleworking at the employee’s chosen location
  • Workplaces that are inaccessible to the public, have fewer than 10 employees working on-site, and comply with IIPP requirements

Workplace Violence and Harassment Restraining Orders

Effective January 1, 2025, SB 553 authorizes collective bargaining representatives and employers to seek a temporary restraining order on behalf of an employee who has suffered unlawful violence, a credible threat of violence, or “harassment.” Harassment for the purposes of the new law is defined as the “knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose.”

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Yes, there is a lot to do by July 2024, and we’re here to help! Save the date for November 7, 2023, when we will host a one-hour webinar focused on SB 553’s requirements. (Stay tuned for details.) Shaw Law Group attorneys also are hard at work creating a WVPP package for our clients, which will include a customized WVPP, a consultation to discuss implementation, training, and applicable templates. For more information, contact us at info@shawlawgroup.com.



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