Effective July 1, 2024: California Workplace Violence Prevention Plan Requirement
Pursuant to SB 553, starting on July 1, 2024, California employers must establish, implement, and maintain a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan. This requirement is related to California employers’ requirement to institute a compliant Illness and Injury Prevention Program. The Workplace Violence Prevention Plan can be included as a part of an employer’s existing Illness and Injury Prevent Program, or it can be addressed in a standalone policy. A compliant Workplace Violence Prevention Plan requires employers to establish a program to identify, evaluate, and correct workplace violence hazards, which program must meet all of the requirements established in SB 553. Employers are also required to meet certain reporting and record-keeping requirements related to workplace violence.

SB 553 broadly defines workplace violence as “any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs in a place of employment.” SB 553 specifically establishes four types of workplace violence to be addressed in the plan: (i) violence committed by a person without legitimate business at the worksite (Type 1), (ii) violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, or visitors (Type II), (iii) violence against an employee by a present or former employee, supervisor, or manager (Type III), and (iv) 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 (Type IV).

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has published a Model Workplace Violence Prevention Plan. However, each employer should modify their plan so that it applies to their business. Specifically, employers will need to identify a program administrator and other responsible parties, identify and address hazards specific to their business, design and implement training, and institute a proper reporting structure and record-keeping system, as well as several other applicable requirements.

Under certain circumstances, employers may be exempt from the requirement to institute a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan. For example, an employer is not required to implement such a plan in places of employment where less than 10 employees are working at any given time provided, however, that (i) the workplace is not accessible to the public, and (ii) the employer has instituted a compliant Injury and Illness Prevention Program, as required under California law. Additionally, employers do not need to institute a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan for employees teleworking from a location of the employee’s choice, which is not under the employer’s control.

If you have any questions about the requirement to implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan, or if you need assistance in crafting a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan, please contact your Kunzler, Bean & Adamson attorneys.
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