Last fall, California enacted a new law (SB 553/Labor Code 6401.9) requiring almost all employers to implement a workplace violence prevention plan.  Employers are required to have a plan in place by July 1, 2024.  Cal/OSHA recently published guidance on the requirements as well as a model plan template that employers may use as a guide for their plans.  The guidance and model plan template are available here.  By way of summary, the plan must include the following information:

(A) Names or job titles of the persons responsible for implementing the plan. If there are multiple persons responsible for the plan, their roles shall be clearly described.

(B) Effective procedures to obtain the active involvement of employees and authorized employee representatives in developing and implementing the plan, including, but not limited to, through their participation in identifying, evaluating, and correcting workplace violence hazards, in designing and implementing training, and in reporting and investigating workplace violence incidents.

(C) Methods the employer will use to coordinate implementation of the plan with other employers, when applicable, to ensure that those employers and employees understand their respective roles, as provided in the plan. 

(D) Effective procedures for the employer to accept and respond to reports of workplace violence, and to prohibit retaliation against an employee who makes such a report.

(E) Effective procedures to ensure that supervisory and nonsupervisory employees comply with the plan.

(F) Effective procedures to communicate with employees regarding workplace violence matters, including, but not limited to, both of the following:

(i) How an employee can report a violent incident, threat, or other workplace violence concern to the employer or law enforcement without fear of reprisal.

(ii) How employee concerns will be investigated as part of the employer’s responsibility in complying with subparagraph (I), and how employees will be informed of the results of the investigation and any corrective actions to be taken as part of the employer’s responsibility in complying with subparagraph (J).

(G) Effective procedures to respond to actual or potential workplace violence emergencies, including, but not limited to, all of the following:

(i) Effective means to alert employees of the presence, location, and nature of workplace violence emergencies.

(ii) Evacuation or sheltering plans that are appropriate and feasible for the worksite.

(iii) How to obtain help from staff assigned to respond to workplace violence emergencies, if any, security personnel, if any, and law enforcement.

(H) Procedures to develop and provide training to employees related to the plan.

(I) Procedures to identify and evaluate workplace violence hazards, including, but not limited to, scheduled periodic inspections to identify unsafe conditions and work practices and employee reports and concerns. Inspections shall be conducted when the plan is first established, after each workplace violence incident, and whenever the employer is made aware of a new or previously unrecognized hazard.

(J) Procedures to correct workplace violence hazards.

(K) Procedures for post-incident response and investigation.

(L) Procedures to review the effectiveness of the plan and revise the plan as needed, including, but not limited to, procedures to obtain the active involvement of employees and authorized employee representatives in reviewing the plan. The plan shall be reviewed at least annually, when a deficiency is observed or becomes apparent, and after a workplace violence incident.

In addition to requiring employers to develop a workplace violence prevention plan, the new law requires employers to maintain workplace violence incident logs and to provide training to employees on the workplace violence prevention plan.  Records related to workplace violence incidents (including investigations) must be maintained for 5 years.

Employers should begin taking steps to implement plans and training in compliance with the new law.

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Photo of Robin E. Largent Robin E. Largent

Robin Largent has been advising and defending employers for over twenty years, primarily in California state and federal courts.  Robin’s practice focuses on the defense of wage and hour class and representative (PAGA) actions.  Robin’s practice also focuses heavily on compliance and advice…

Robin Largent has been advising and defending employers for over twenty years, primarily in California state and federal courts.  Robin’s practice focuses on the defense of wage and hour class and representative (PAGA) actions.  Robin’s practice also focuses heavily on compliance and advice on best practices to prevent and mitigate the risks of employment litigation.  Robin also regularly defends employers ranging from small, locally owned businesses to large national corporations in single plaintiff employment litigation involving claims for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, breach of contract, and wrongful termination.  Robin has substantial appellate experience and success handling appeals, writ petitions, and amicus briefs in both state and federal courts on issues such as class certification (particularly in the wage and hour arena), manageability and due process concerns associated with class action trials, novel issues of interpretation of wage and hour laws, exempt/non-exempt misclassification issues, meal and rest break compliance, trade secret/unfair competition matters, and the scope of federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.  Finally, Robin is well-known for her former role as Editor and primary author of the California Labor and Employment Law Blog for close to a decade.