What is in Your Workplace Violence Prevention Plan?

By Zakiyah Bradford

By July 1, 2024, all employers, with few exceptions, must have a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (“WVP Plan”) implemented in the workplace[1].  While many employers are close to completing implementation, some employers may only be getting started.  In either circumstance, in addition to the statutory requirements for the plan, employers will want to make note of a couple of important questions.

Is the WVP Plan Specific?

The WVP Plan must be specific to the hazards associated with each work area and operation.  Employers are charged to consider the various hazards that are unique to certain offices and branches but also hazards that may be unique to a particular position or geographic location.  For example, some positions within a business physically interact with the general public more than other positions within the same company.  Accordingly, employers with more public-facing employees are expected to consider that distinction in crafting the WVP Plan.  Employers are advised to consider any unique hazards in drafting the WVP Plan.

Does the WVP Plan Cover All Bases?

The law identifies four distinct categories of workplace violence: (1) Type 1, which is committed by a person who has no legitimate business at the office or branch and intends to commit a crime at the worksite; (2) Type 2, which is committed by customers against employees; (3) Type 3, which is between employees (former or current); and (4) Type 4, which is committed by a non-employee who has a personal relationship with an employee.  Considering each of these scenarios in constructing a WVP Plan would meet the requirements of the statute; but what if none of the employees are involved in or connected with the violence occurring in the workplace?  Employers may consider including a protocol for employees witnessing violent interactions or altercations between two customers, for example.  Given the definition of “workplace violence,” which is “any act or threat of violence that occurs in a place of employment,” an instance of violence that may not fit perfectly in any of the four categories should still be considered in the WVP Plan.

These questions only highlight a couple of factors that employers should consider in establishing and implementing the Workplace Violence Prevention Plan before the July 1st deadline.  Keep in mind, however, that changes in the next couple of years are likely.  Cal/OSHA, the agency that will enforce safety laws, has until the end of 2025 to issue proposed standards for the WVP Plan, and the proposed standards don’t have to be adopted until the end of 2026.

 

 

[1] Cal. Lab. Code §6401.9 (2024)

About the Author

Zakiyah Bradford

Zakiyah Bradford is an Associate Attorney at SW&M with experience in Labor and Employment Law. Prior to joining the team, she conducted anti-discrimination/harassment trainings for thousands of personnel in an effort to prevent and if needed, resolve HR complaints. To […]

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