By: David Nusz

As if the CA Labor Code wasn’t already big enough, effective July 1, 2024, Section 6401.9 is added which requires nearly all CA employers to establish, implement, and maintain an “effective” Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WPVPP) that must include the following:

  1. The names or job titles of the individuals responsible for implementing and maintaining the WPVPP.
  2. Procedures to obtain the active involvement of employees in developing, implementing, and reviewing the WPVPP, including their participation in identifying, evaluating, and correcting workplace violence hazards, designing and implementing training, and reporting and investigating workplace violence incidents.
  3. Methods the employer will use to coordinate the implementation of the WPVPP among employees in the same facility or department.
  4. Procedures for the employer to respond to workplace violence and to prohibit retaliation against employees who make reports of workplace violence.
  5. Procedures for ensuring compliance with the WPVPP.
  6. Procedures for communicating with employees regarding workplace violence matters.
  7. Procedures for developing and providing training on the employer’s workplace violence prevention plan.
  8. Assessment procedures to identify and evaluate workplace violence hazards.
  9. Procedures for correcting workplace violence hazards in a timely manner.
  10. Procedures for post-incident response and investigation.

In addition to developing and implementing a WPVPP, employers must also “record information in a Violent Incident Log about every incident, post-incident, response, and workplace violation injury investigation.” The log must include the following information:

  1. The date, time, and location of the incident.
  2. A detailed description of the incident.
  3. A classification of who committed the violence.
  4. The circumstances at the time of the incident, including whether the employee was performing regular job duties.
  5. The type of incident, including whether it involved “physical, verbal, sexual, or animal attacks.” (By including “verbal” it is clear at a minimum, threatened violence constitutes a “violent incident” that must be recorded.
  6. Consequences of the incident including medical and/or law enforcement intervention.
  7. Contact information of the individual completing the Violent Incident Log.

Required Training:

Employers must provide employees with initial training when the WPVPP is established and conduct annual training thereafter. Training must include:

  1. How to obtain a free copy of the plan.
  2. How to report workplace violence hazards and incidents.
  3. Corrective measures implemented by employer.
  4. How to seek assistance to prevent or respond to violence.
  5. Strategies to avoid physical harm.
  6. Information about the Violent Incident Log and how employees can obtain a copy.

The WPVPP must be reviewed and updated every year as appropriate. Given the extensive requirements of the new law, it is recommended employers begin the process now to ensure compliance readiness by July 1. CA OSHA is the primary enforcement agency, but I anticipate it will also quickly find its way into the workers’ comp litigation as a basis for alleged labor Code Section 4553 Serious and Willful claims, which are uninsurable and increase regular workers’ comp benefits by 50% payable by the employer. As always, O’Hagan Meyer is available to assist in developing the WPVPP and employee training.