Jan 24, 2024 General Employment Issues

California Requires Customized Workplace Violence Prevention Plans and Training

Under a new law, employers in California must develop and implement a written workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP) and provide appropriate training by July 1, 2024. Notably, employers cannot simply purchase off-the-shelf plans and training materials as they are required to be customized for the unique hazards of the particular workplace.

Who Must Comply with the New Law?

The law applies to all employers, employees, and places of employment except for the following:

  • Employers covered by the violence in health care provisions of the California Code of Regulations.
  • Certain facilities operated by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and law enforcement agencies.
  • Employees teleworking from a location of the employee’s choice, which is not under the control of the employer.
  • Places of employment with fewer than 10 employees working at the place at any given time and that are not accessible to the public.

What Are an Employer’s Obligations Under the Law?

Employers are required to take the following actions:

  • Create and maintain a written WVPP with specified information and make it easily available and accessible to employees.
  • Actively involve employees in developing the WVPP.
  • Establish procedures for reporting, investigating, and responding to incidents; identifying and correcting hazards; and communicating with employees regarding workplace violence matters.
  • Develop and provide effective training to employees, including additional training when a new or previously unrecognized workplace violence hazard is identified and when the plan is updated. Note that materials must be appropriate for the educational level, literacy, and language of the employees.
  • Maintain specified records, such as violent incident logs, investigations, training, and workplace violence hazard identification, evaluation, and correction measures. Such records must be made available to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health as required.

Importantly, employers must consider the specific hazards of their workplace in developing their plans. 

What Types of Workplace Violence Must Be Addressed in the WVPP?

“Workplace violence” is defined as any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs in a place of employment. It includes, but is not limited to (1) workplace violence committed by a person who has no legitimate business at the worksite, and includes violent acts by anyone who enters the workplace or approaches workers with the intent to commit a crime; (2) workplace violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, or visitors; (3) workplace violence against an employee by a present or former employee, supervisor, or manager; and (4) workplace violence committed in the workplace by a person who does not work there, but has or is known to have had a personal relationship with an employee.

Are There Additional Changes in the Law?

Beginning January 1, 2025, a collective bargaining representative can seek a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on behalf of employees who have suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from any individual that can reasonably be construed to be carried out or to have been carried out, at the workplace. Present law allows employers to also obtain a TRO under these circumstances.

What Steps Should Employers Take Now?

Employers should begin preparing their site-specific WVPP and training program, as it must be completed by July 1, 2024. The WVPP can be a separate document or a section of the employer’s existing Injury and Illness Prevention Plan.

Please feel free to contact any of our attorneys if you have any questions or would like our assistance in complying with California’s new workplace violence law.

NOTICE: Material provided on this website has been prepared by Kauff McGuire & Margolis LLP solely for general informational purposes, and it is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice. Material provided on the website is not privileged and does not create an attorney-client relationship with the Firm or any of its lawyers.