Employer Alert: SB 553 Requires Workplace Violence Prevention Plans for Most California Employers by July 1, 2024
Employer Alert: SB 553 Requires Workplace Violence Prevention Plans for Most California Employers by July 1, 2024

Unfortunately, incidents of workplace violence are taking place with increasing frequency.  In an effort to give employers additional tools to combat these issues, the California Legislature has given us Senate Bill 553.  Effective January 1, 2024, SB 553 amends Code of Civil Procedure section 527.8 to permit any employer that employs someone who has 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 to seek a temporary restraining order on behalf of the employee and any number of other employees at the workplace or at other workplaces of the employer, as appropriate.  As of January 1, 2025, the law will be further amended to permit a collective bargaining representative of the employee to seek the same remedy.  

In addition, SB 553 will amend section 6401.7 and add section 6401.9 to the Labor Code to enhance the existing requirements for an effective illness and injury prevention program with standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards board.  Specifically, by July 1, 2024, most California employers must develop and implement a written workplace violence prevention plan. There are limited exceptions for: (1) employers with a compliant IIPP and fewer than 10 employees who are not accessible to the public; (2) employees teleworking from a location of their own choice not under the employer’s control; (3) employers with healthcare facilities; and (4) certain public entity employers.

The new law also requires initial and annual training of employees regarding the workplace violence prevention plan. Additionally, employers must maintain certain records including workplace violence hazard identification, evaluation and correction records, training records, a violent incident log for every workplace violence incident, and records of workplace violence incident investigations.

The written workplace violence prevention plan must be available and accessible to all employees.

The author would like to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Joanne Warriner.

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