- Advertisement -

What HR needs to know about California’s new workplace violence law

Ask employees if they’ve witnessed workplace violence in the last five years, and one in four are likely to confirm they have. Meanwhile, 12% may acknowledge they were the target of such action, according to a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. employees by compliance training solutions provider Traliant.

- Advertisement -

And employees want their organizations to do more about violence at places of business. Ninety percent of survey participants believe other states should follow the lead of California, where a new workplace violence law takes effect on July 1. California Senate Bill 553 requires virtually all employers to establish, implement and maintain an effective workplace violence prevention plan that is enforceable by the state safety and health agency.

Since last year, more than 100 bills aimed at reducing workplace violence have been introduced in 27 states, with 11 states enacting these measures, according to a LexisNexis State Net data report. In states like Connecticut, Texas and New Hampshire, the adopted legislation only applies to healthcare settings. In contrast, other states like Utah have passed workplace violence bills that focus on delivering particular tools to employers, such as getting a protective order on behalf of an employee. New York, meanwhile, passed a workforce violence prevention law to protect retail workers. California is the first state whose anti-workplace violence law applies to employers across industries.

Some of the proposed measures under consideration call for improving the tracking of violent incidents at work or requiring employers to offer anti-violence training to halt such practices—all tasks that typically fall into HR’s lap, say experts.

Renata Elias, senior vice president at Marsh McLennan, shared her insights with Human Resource Executive to give HR leaders a glimpse into the California law and how it may prompt other states to take action.

Dawn Kawamoto, Human Resource Executive
Dawn Kawamoto
Dawn Kawamoto is HR Editor of Human Resource Executive. She is an award-winning journalist who has covered technology business news for such publications as CNET and has covered the HR and careers industry for such organizations as Dice and Built In prior to joining HRE. She can be reached at [email protected] and below on social media.