SB 428 Further Modifies Workplace Violence Restraining Order Law
SB 428 Further Modifies Workplace Violence Restraining Order Law

As reported here, California recently took steps to provide employers additional tools to combat workplace violence, including requiring a written workplace violence prevention plan, by enacting Senate Bill 553.  Effective January 1, 2025, Senate Bill 428 makes further changes to existing procedures for workplace violence restraining orders, and creates limitations to prevent employers from using such orders to restrict labor-related speech and activities. These changes are codified as section 527.8 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

Employers in California may ask for a court order to protect one or more employees from a person who has stalked, harassed, been violent or threatened violence at the workplace. Abuse at the workplace can include threats of violence that happen in person, over the phone, by mail, or online, and following an employee to or from work or during work hours. The employer can ask for protection for an employee who has been the target of abuse, other employees who may also be in danger, and the family or household members of employees.

Although an individual may seek a restraining order on behalf of him or herself or family members, only employers may ask for a workplace violence restraining order. A court may issue a workplace violence restraining order against anyone who has been violent or threatened violence against one or more employees at a workplace.

SB 428 also permits employers to seek a temporary restraining order on behalf of employees who have suffered harassment. A court may grant such a temporary restraining order upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence that an employee has suffered harassment, that great or irreparable harm would result to an employee, and that the respondent’s course of conduct served no legitimate purpose.

SB 428 requires that, before an employer seeks a temporary restraining order, they must provide the employee whose protection is sought the opportunity to decline to be named in the order. An employer whose employee has requested to not be named in the temporary restraining order is not prohibited from seeking a temporary restraining order on behalf of other employees.

Lastly, SB 428 expressly prohibits a court from issuing a workplace violence restraining order if that order would prohibit speech or activities protected by the federal National Labor Relations Act or specified provisions of law governing the communications of exclusive representatives of public employees.

This publication is published by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. The publication is intended to present an overview of current legal trends; no article should be construed as representing advice on specific, individual legal matters. Articles may be reprinted with permission and acknowledgment. ECJ is a registered service mark of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. All rights reserved.


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