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10 Answers to FAQs About California’s Workplace Violence Prevention Plan Law

someone taking a pistol out of the glove compartment of a car

Employers have asked a broad range of questions regarding California’s groundbreaking new law establishing the state’s first general industry workplace violence prevention requirements. Given the complexity of SB 553, it makes sense to continue the discussion and explore the statute further. Here are our answers to an additional 10 questions frequently asked by employers, in addition to 12 already addressed.

Question. Is there any grace period with respect to the implementation of the new law?

Answer. The new law does not have any built-in grace period. The new law takes effect on July 1.

Question. What is the timing on the training?

Answer. Employers are required to provide training when their workplace violence prevention plans are first established and annually thereafter. Therefore, employers are expected to ensure that employees are trained by July 1.

Question. Is there an interactive training requirement?

Answer. The training must have “[a]n opportunity for interactive questions and answers with a person knowledgeable about the employer’s plan.”

Question. Is an employer required to involve employees in creating the plan?

Answer. Yes. The new law requires effective procedures to obtain the active involvement of employees in developing and implementing the plan.

Question. How does an employer handle multiemployer worksites, such as construction sites, vendor situations, or sites with temporary staff, where there are employees from other employers?

Answer. An employer must coordinate the implementation of the plan with other employers on a multiemployer worksite.

Question. Does an employer’s workplace violence prevention plan have to identify who is responsible for the plan?

Answer. Yes. An employer must identify the “[n]ames or job titles of the persons responsible for implementing the plan.”

Question. Are employers required to have active shooter preparedness training as part of their workplace violence prevention plans?

Answer. The law does not explicitly mention active shooter preparedness training. As part of a workplace violence hazard assessment, employers may want to consider whether they need to conduct active shooter preparedness training.

Question. Are there any potential exceptions to the law, such as for small employers or teleworkers?

Answer. Yes. Employees teleworking from locations of their choice that are not under the employer’s control may be exempt from the law. Worksites with fewer than 10 employees present at any given time and not accessible to the public may be exempt from the new law’s requirements.

Question. Does each worksite have to have a customized plan or is one general workplace violence plan acceptable?

Answer. If different worksites present different hazards, then the workplace violence plan would need to be tailored to the different worksites. Conversely, if worksites share similar hazards, the plan can likely be more uniform across a larger footprint. For example, a retail employer might have stores and distribution centers—and the plans would have some similar elements—but having different workplace violence hazards would likely require plan customization for each location.

Question. Under the new law, are employers required to implement workplace violence prevention plans for locations outside California?

Answer. No. SB 553 applies only to California worksites and California employees.

Robert C. Rodriguez and Karen F. Tynan are attorneys with Ogletree Deakins in Sacramento, Calif. © 2024 Ogletree Deakins. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.


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