By The California Applicants’ Attorneys Association | April 22, 2024

In 2023, the California Legislature passed the first-of-its-kind Workplace Violence Prevention Act that, unlike other workplace violence laws, applies across all industries and to nearly all employers statewide.

California’s new law, SB 553 (Cortese) which goes into effect July 1, 2024, mandates employers establish workplace violence prevention plans. The law pertains to most employers and places of employment, with exceptions such as healthcare facilities, certain government facilities, and small workplaces with fewer than 10 employees. (If your Business needs to create a plan – click here for a helpful guide) Violence prevention plans must address and mitigate workplace violence incidents or threats and encompass responsibilities, incident reporting, training, emergency response, hazard identification, and plan effectiveness review. Additionally, the Act recognizes that workplace violence can take different forms including verbal harassment, bullying, and intimidation. This addresses a critical issue affecting the well-being of workers psychologically as well as physically.

Everyone has the right to feel safe in their workplace. By requiring employers to implement violence prevention plans and provide regular training, the state sets a precedent for proactive risk management. Employees are empowered to recognize, report, and address workplace violence without fear of retaliation. This fosters a culture of openness and accountability within organizations, where concerns are taken seriously and appropriate action is taken to mitigate risks.

As one of the largest economies in the world, California’s actions often influence legislative trends and practices in other states and even at the federal level. By championing workplace violence prevention, California sets a powerful example for other jurisdictions to follow, further advancing the cause of worker protections nationwide. Overall, the law supports a proactive approach that not only protects workers but also contributes to a healthier and more productive work environment statewide.