California Mandates Workplace Violence Prevention Plans for All Employers

Jackson Lewis P.C.

On September 30, 2023, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 553, which will require employers to establish, implement, and maintain an effective workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP).

The WVPP will require the maintenance of a violent incident log, training on workplace violence hazards, and periodic reviews of the plan. Some controversial provisions from earlier versions of the bill—including those that would prohibit retailers from “confronting” suspected shoplifters except through “dedicated safety personnel”—were deleted.

The following types of entities are exempted from the WVPP requirement:

  • Healthcare facilities (already covered by Cal/OSHA’s Violence Prevention in Health Care standard)
  • Facilities operated by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • Employers that law enforcement agencies, including being in compliance with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training Programs
  • Employees who are teleworking
  • Places of employment where there are fewer than 10 employees working at the place at any given time, that are not accessible to the public and are in compliance with the requirement to develop and maintain an Injury Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP).

Under the bill, a collective bargaining representative of an employee who has suffered unlawful violence from any individual may seek a temporary restraining order (TRO) and an order after hearing on behalf of the employee.

Many of the bill’s requirements (including the development of the WVPP) take effect on July 1, 2024, and will be enforced by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA). 

SB 553 also requires Cal/OSHA by December 1, 2025, to propose standards for the WVPP, and by December 31, 2026, for the Standards Board to adopt such standards.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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