California’s New Workplace Violence Restraining Order Law Explained
State and federal employment laws provide employees with many protections to ensure a safe workplace free of violence, harassment, and discrimination. Recently, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 428 into law. SB 428, which will take effect on January 1, 2025, expands on existing California law regarding workplace violence restraining orders.
Workers are likely to have questions whenever a new employment law is adopted. Here, employment law attorney Gregory Thyberg, whose practice serves Sacramento, CA, and surrounding areas, explains California’s new workplace violence restraining order law and how it differs from the law already in place.
Current California Law
Under current California law, an employer can seek a temporary restraining order against an employee who has acted violently in the workplace or made threats of violence against coworkers. The law is in place to protect employees and their immediate family members.
The restraining order can prohibit the violent or threatening employee from reporting to the workplace or being within a specified distance from an employee’s home or other locations the employee may be. The restraining order also prohibits the individual from communicating with an employee in any way. Individuals who violate the restraining order can be arrested and face criminal prosecution.
How Is SB 428 Different?
An article published by The National Law Review explains how SB 428, which was signed by Governor Newsom on September 30, 2023, differs from current law. SB 428 addresses one of the shortcomings of existing restraining order law. Currently, a restraining order can only be issued for workplace misconduct involving violence or the threat of violence.
When SB 428 takes effect in 2025, the workplace restraining order law will expand to include workplace misconduct involving harassment, which the law defines as “a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose.” Proponents of SB 428 support the bill because it allows Sacramento employers to take action and protect employees early on rather than waiting for misconduct to escalate to violence or threats of violence.
Are There Limitations to SB 428?
SB 428 expands on existing workplace violence restraining order law to provide greater protections to employees, but it still has some limitations. Under the new law, the court cannot issue a restraining order for any actions that are protected by the Constitution, the National Labor Relations Act, or any other provisions of law.
Understanding Your Rights
Employment laws are complex, especially since they are ever changing. Employees who face violence, harassment, or discrimination in the workplace can work with a knowledgeable employment law attorney, such as Gregory Thyberg, to consider their legal options regarding workplace protections and compensation for related damages.
If you have experienced workplace harassment, discrimination, or violence and your employer has failed to take steps to protect you, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. To discuss the details of your situation with attorney Gregory Thyberg, send us a message at your earliest convenience and schedule a consultation at our Sacramento law firm.