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Workplace Violence Restraining Orders

August 23, 2019

In a companion blog today, we reported the arrest of a disgruntled California employee associated with a possible thwarted workplace mass shooting.

 

Were you aware California law provides for workplace violence restraining orders?

 

 

 

A California employer may seek a workplace violence restraining order per Cal.C.C.P. § 527.8 against an employee who has made threats of violence or followed through with same.  A workplace violence restraining order cannot be requested by an employee. Only the employer of record may move for one.

 

California-based employees who have experienced threats or actual violence itself in the workplace should go to the employer and request that the employer seek a workplace violence restraining order. Employers who have concerns about a specific employee who has threatened or exhibited violence may seek a workplace violence restraining order from a court of competent jurisdiction.

 

For more information on California's Workplace Violence Restraining: http://www.scscourt.org/self_help/restraining/workplace_violence.shtml

 

THE LAW.

 

Cal.C.C.P. § 527.8 states in relevant part the following:
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a) Any employer, whose employee has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from any individual, that can reasonably be construed to be carried out or to have been carried out at the workplace, may seek a temporary restraining order and an order after hearing on behalf of the employee and, at the discretion of the court, any number of other employees at the workplace, and, if appropriate, other employees at other workplaces of the employer.

(b) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Course of conduct” is a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose, including following or stalking an employee to or from the place of work; entering the workplace; following an employee during hours of employment; making telephone calls to an employee; or sending correspondence to an employee by any means, including, but not limited to, the use of the public or private mails, interoffice mail, facsimile, or computer email.

(2) “Credible threat of violence” is a knowing and willful statement or course of conduct that would place a reasonable person in fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family, and that serves no legitimate purpose.

(3) “Employer” and “employee” mean persons defined in Section 350 of the Labor Code. “Employer” also includes a federal agency, the state, a state agency, a city, county, or district, and a private, public, or quasi-public corporation, or any public agency thereof or therein. “Employee” also includes the members of boards of directors of private, public, and quasi-public corporations and elected and appointed public officers. For purposes of this section only, “employee” also includes a volunteer or independent contractor who performs services for the employer at the employer’s worksite.

(4) “Petitioner” means the employer that petitions under subdivision (a) for a temporary restraining order and order after hearing.

(5) “Respondent” means the person against whom the temporary restraining order and order after hearing are sought and, if the petition is granted, the restrained person.

(6) “Temporary restraining order” and “order after hearing” mean orders that include any of the following restraining orders, whether issued ex parte or after notice and hearing:

(A) An order enjoining a party from harassing, intimidating, molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, abusing, telephoning, including, but not limited to, making annoying telephone calls as described in Section 653m of the Penal Code, destroying personal property, contacting, either directly or indirectly, by mail or otherwise, or coming within a specified distance of, or disturbing the peace of, the employee.

(B) An order enjoining a party from specified behavior that the court determines is necessary to effectuate orders described in subparagraph (A).

(7) “Unlawful violence” is any assault or battery, or stalking as prohibited in Section 646.9 of the Penal Code, but shall not include lawful acts of self-defense or defense of others.

(c) This section does not permit a court to issue a temporary restraining order or order after hearing prohibiting speech or other activities that are constitutionally protected, or otherwise protected by Section 527.3 or any other provision of law.

(d) In the discretion of the court, on a showing of good cause, a temporary restraining order or order after hearing issued under this section may include other named family or household members, or other persons employed at the employee’s workplace or workplaces.

(e) Upon filing a petition under this section, the petitioner may obtain a temporary restraining order in accordance with subdivision (a) of Section 527, if the petitioner also files a declaration that, to the satisfaction of the court, shows reasonable proof that an employee has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence by the respondent, and that great or irreparable harm would result to an employee. The temporary restraining order may include any of the protective orders described in paragraph (6) of subdivision (b).

(f) A request for the issuance of a temporary restraining order without notice under this section shall be granted or denied on the same day that the petition is submitted to the court, unless the petition is filed too late in the day to permit effective review, in which case the order shall be granted or denied on the next day of judicial business in sufficient time for the order to be filed that day with the clerk of the court.

(g) A temporary restraining order granted under this section shall remain in effect, at the court’s discretion, for a period not to exceed 21 days, or if the court extends the time for hearing under subdivision (h), not to exceed 25 days, unless otherwise modified or terminated by the court.

(h) Within 21 days, or if good cause appears to the court, 25 days from the date that a petition for a temporary order is granted or denied, a hearing shall be held on the petition. If no request for temporary orders is made, the hearing shall be held within 21 days, or, if good cause appears to the court, 25 days, from the date that the petition is filed.

(i) The respondent may file a response that explains, excuses, justifies, or denies the alleged unlawful violence or credible threats of violence.

(j) At the hearing, the judge shall receive any testimony that is relevant and may make an independent inquiry. Moreover, if the respondent is a current employee of the entity requesting the order, the judge shall receive evidence concerning the employer’s decision to retain, terminate, or otherwise discipline the respondent. If the judge finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent engaged in unlawful violence or made a credible threat of violence, an order shall issue prohibiting further unlawful violence or threats of violence.

(k) (1) In the discretion of the court, an order issued after notice and hearing under this section may have a duration of not more than three years, subject to termination or modification by further order of the court either on written stipulation filed with the court or on the motion of a party. These orders may be renewed, upon the request of a party, for a duration of not more than three years, without a showing of any further violence or threats of violence since the issuance of the original order, subject to termination or modification by further order of the court either on written stipulation filed with the court or on the motion of a party. The request for renewal may be brought at any time within the three months before the expiration of the order.

(2) The failure to state the expiration date on the face of the form creates an order with a duration of three years from the date of issuance...

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