Newly Implemented Workplace Violence Prevention Laws

In response to the increasing concern over workplace violence, New York and California have taken steps to promote safer work environments. Both states have recently enacted legislation requiring preventive measures to safeguard employees in the workplace.

New York Workplace Violence Prevention Law

In New York, public employers have been required to adopt workplace violence prevention programs since 2009. Public school districts, Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES), and County Vocational Education and Extension Boards were exempt from this requirement until recently. Effective January 1, 2024, the NYS Workplace Violence Prevention Law was amended to remove the exemption and require public school employers to adhere to workplace violence prevention obligations.

The NYS Workplace Violence Prevention Law requires that covered employers must:

  • develop and implement a written Workplace Violence Prevention Program;
  • perform a risk evaluation of the workplace and determine the factors that place employees at risk from occupational assaults and homicide;
  • provide employees with information and training on the risks of occupational assaults and homicides in their workplace or workplaces at the time of their initial assignment and annually thereafter;
  • establish and implement a system for employees to report incidents of workplace violence; and
  • develop and maintain a Workplace Violence Incident Report and review the report annually.

Employers in NYS were required to be in full compliance of the law by May 3, 2024.

The NYS Department of Labor provides a Workplace Violence Program General Template to aid employers in meeting requirements under the NYS Workplace Violence Prevention Act.

California Workplace Violence Prevention Law

California’s Workplace Violence Prevention Law was enacted in September 2023 and applies across all industries and to nearly all employers in the state of California. Employers must implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan that includes:

  • identifying who is responsible for implementing the plan;
  • involving employees and their representatives;
  • accepting and responding to reports of workplace violence and prohibit employee retaliation;
  • developing and providing effective training;
  • identifying, evaluating, and correcting workplace violence hazards; and
  • Performing post incident response and investigations.

Under the new California law, employers must have workplace violence prevention plans and training in place by July 1, 2024.

The California Department of Industrial Relations provides a Model Written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan, which is available to employers as a resource guide for the new California Workplace Violence Prevention Law.

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