New Workplace Violence Prevention Requirements For California Employers - Compliance Deadline Is Quickly Approaching

Duane Morris LLP


Duane Morris LLP, a law firm with more than 800 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally, is asked by a broad array of clients to provide innovative solutions to today's legal and business challenges.
What would you do if there was a threat of violence in your workplace? In California, employers must answer that question by July 1, 2024.
United States Employment and HR
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on

What would you do if there was a threat of violence in your workplace? In California, employers must answer that question by July 1, 2024. That is the deadline to enact a comprehensive plan to prevent and respond to workplace violence in compliance with California Senate Bill 553. By July 1, 2024, all California employers, with limited exceptions, must create and implement a workplace violence prevention plan and train their workforces about workplace violence or face the prospect of citations and penalties from Cal/OSHA.

Create a Thoughtful Written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

Existing law requires all employers to establish, implement and maintain an effective written injury and illness prevention program (IIPP) to correct unsafe and unhealthy conditions and work practices in a timely manner, to report serious illness, injury or death (including any due to workplace violence) and to seek temporary restraining orders. Cal/OSHA has the power to issue citations and impose civil penalties on employers that fail to comply.

The new California law, SB 553, requires all employers with at least one employee in the Golden State to establish, implement and maintain a comprehensive written workplace violence prevention plan, specific to each work area and operation hazards. Limited exceptions exist for healthcare facilities (governed by their own workplace violence regulations), Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facilities, law enforcement agencies, specified teleworking employees and places of employment inaccessible to the public with less than 10 employees working at any given time (as long as they comply with general IIPP requirements).

Employers are required to ensure that the plan provides effective procedures to accept and respond to employee workplace violence reports and that all employees comply with it. The mandatory plan must be carefully designed and address 13 separate topics. Employers must identify individuals responsible for implementing the plan as well as procedures to actively involve employees, to identify hazards and to investigate and respond to reports of workplace violence. The consequences of a preparing a hasty or unstudied plan, if a workplace violence incident were to occur, could be devastating.

Maintain an Incident Log

All incidents of workplace violence must be recorded in a violent incident log detailing nine separate topics. Among other things, the log must identify the type of violence as defined by statute and contain a description of the incident and consequences taken. Employers should be mindful in completing these logs given the nature of the documentation and potential subsequent use.

Train Your Workforce

The new law requires employers to provide ongoing effective interactive training to employees on workplace violence―initially once the plan is adopted, annually thereafter and when new hazards are identified. The trainings must cover six topics including an overview of the plan, understanding hazards and reporting workplace violence incidents.

Recording Requirements

The law also requires employers to prepare records that show workplace violence hazards have been identified, evaluated and corrected, that reflect incident investigations and that demonstrate trainings have been conducted. Hazard identification, evaluation and correction records as well as violent incident logs must be maintained for at least five years, while training records may be discarded after one year. All records, except violent incident investigations, must be made available and easily accessible to employees upon request within 15 days.

Cal/OSHA is expected to adopt its own general industry workplace violence regulations by December 31, 2026, as authorized by the new law.

Consequences for Failure to Comply

Workers may file confidential complaints about workplace safety and health hazards with Cal/OSHA, which may issue citations and impose penalties upon employers for failure to comply. In addition to possible lawsuits and reputational damage, think of the potential fallout if a workplace violence incident occurred and your business had failed to prepare adequately.

What This Means for Employers

A workplace violence incident would likely be devastating to any employer. With only days left until the deadline, now is the time to prepare your mandatory workplace violence prevention plan. Avoid a hasty, ill-considered document using a template you don't fully understand. Think through the details of the plan you are preparing. Consider potential hazards relevant to your particular workplace. How should hazards be corrected? Who will be responsible for implementing the plan? What is expected in the event of an incident? How should incidents be reported and recorded? What happens next? Once the plan is in place, train your workforce and maintain the required records. A thoughtful and meaningful plan specific to your workplace, along with a well-trained workforce, can go a long way in providing an effective response in the event of a violent incident at your worksite.

For More Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact Lori Ocheltree, any of the attorneys in our Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.

See More Popular Content From

Mondaq uses cookies on this website. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies as set out in our Privacy Policy.

Learn More