On September 30, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 553, effective July 1, 2024, which updates requirements for obtaining protective orders on behalf of an employee and creates a new requirement for employers to develop a workplace violence plan and violence log—and requires them to train employees on workplace violence. 

SB 553 revises Section 527.8 of the California Code of Civil Procedure by permitting employees—and as of January 1, 2025, employee organizations—to initiate obtaining a restraining order against aggressors.

SB 553 creates Labor Code Section 6401.9, which requires employers, including public agencies—not including police departments—to “establish, implement, and maintain a written, effective workplace violence prevention plan” that must be easily accessible at all times.

What Must the Workplace Violence Plan Include?

The plan must include at least names or job titles of the people responsible for implementing the plan, methods the employer will use to coordinate the plan’s implementation with other employers, and effective procedures for the employer to accept and respond to reports of workplace violence.

Mandatory Training

Employers are required to provide training for supervisory and nonsupervisory employees to comply with the plan and implement procedures to inspect, communicate, identify, evaluate, post-incident respond, and respond to workplace violence hazards. Training must include information about the employer’s plan and how to obtain it and identify employer-specific workplace issues. Employees must have the opportunity to ask questions or raise concerns during training.

Inspection and Review Requirements

Employers must review and revise the plan as needed for effectiveness. Inspections are required when a plan is first established, after each workplace violence incident, and whenever the employer is made aware of a new or previously unrecognized hazard. Employers must review plans annually, when a deficiency is observed or becomes apparent, and/or after a workplace violence incident.

Employee Logs

Employees are required to create and maintain a log for “every workplace violence incident,” including information about who is experiencing workplace violence. The log must include the date, time, location of the incident, workplace violence type, a detailed description of the incident, a classification of who committed the violence, and circumstances at the time of the incident. However, the log must not include any personal or medical information.

In addition, the log must document consequences of the incident, including at least the following:

1. Information about the person completing the log (name, job title, and date completed).

2. Whether or not security or law enforcement was contacted and their response.

3. Actions taken to protect employees from a continuing threat or from any other hazards identified as a result of the incident.

Employee training should include details about the log’s contents.

Additional Requirements

Employers must present the plan to employees in a format consistent with the content and vocabulary that aligns with employees’ education levels, literacy, and language used.

Documentation of workplace violence, hazard identification, evaluation, corrections, and investigations must be created and maintained for a minimum of five years.
Please do not hesitate to contact Jones Mayer if you or your staff have questions or concerns about the implementation of the plan. Contact Jamaar M. Boyd-Weatherby at jbw@jones-mayer.com or by telephone at (714) 446-1400.