California Employers on Deadline: Workplace Violence Prevention Plan Required by July 1 

March, 2024 - Olivia B. Perry

California Employers on Deadline: Workplace Violence Prevention Plan Required by July 1

Another year, another mandate for California employers.  By July 1, 2024, nearly all employers in the Golden State must have in place a workplace violence prevention plan.  While the compliance deadline may be three months away, employers need to immediately take action to ensure completion and training by July 1.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace violence is the second leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S.  The new law, codified as Labor Code Section 6401.09, requires employers to implement basic protections to protect employees while at work by requiring California employers to create and implement a detailed and customized written workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP).  The law further mandates that employers provide training on the plan by July 1 (and annually thereafter) and maintain a log of workplace violence incidents. 

The new law applies to all employers with one or more employees and it applies to all employees, places of employment and employer-provided housing except:

  • Health care facilities already covered by Cal/OSHA’s Violence Prevention in Health Care standards;
  • Department of Corrections and rehabilitation facilities;
  • Law enforcement agencies;
  • Employees teleworking from a location of the employee’s choice, which is not under the control of the employer; and
  • Places of employment where fewer than 10 employees are working at any given time and that are not accessible to the public, as long as the location has a compliant Injury and Illness Prevention Plan. 

Covered employers include those who have employees on “multiemployer worksites”, which would include construction sites, vendors and employees who work on clients’ worksites and sites with temporary staff.  In those situations, the law dictates that an employer must coordinate the implementation of the WVPP with other employers on a multiemployer worksite.  In other words, an employer cannot assume another worksite employer is handling the WVPP.  Master service agreements may need to be updated accordingly. 

There are a number of requirements outlined in the new law, including the incorporation of specific protocols and procedures in the WVPP, employee training and assessments that must be completed for each worksite. 

One of the bigger challenges for employers will likely be in performing a workplace violence hazard assessment to include and utilize as the foundation of the WVPP.  This will require many employers to retain outside safety consultants to assess the physical workspace.  If an employer has multiple physical workplaces or facilities, each with its own potential hazards, each location must be assessed.  This highlights the fact that the WVPP cannot be a quickly compiled generic document, but rather time, thought and resources must be put into the creation to ensure compliance.   

Further, employers must maintain a log of all violent incidents, regardless of whether the incident resulted in injury.  The log must include specific and detailed information, as dictated by the statute, and must be maintained for at least five years. 

Finally, once the WVPP has been drafted, employers must provide effective training on workplace violence and the WVPP by July 1 and on an annual basis thereafter.  The training must cover, among other items:

  • how employees can obtain a copy of the plan;
  • how to report workplace violence without fear of retaliation;
  • job-specific hazards and preventative measures and
  • how employees can engage in an interactive discussion regarding the plan with someone knowledgeable about the plan. 

Employers must provide targeted additional employee training when newly identified hazards are discovered or changes are made to the WVPP.  Training records must be maintained for at least one year. 

Employers who fail to comply may be cited by Cal/OSHA and violations may include civil penalties and misdemeanors. 

How Dinsmore Can Help

Virtually every employer in California will need to have a WVPP in place by July 1.  While many employers in the healthcare industry have had these in place for the last few years, this is new territory for most.  Dinsmore & Shohl's Labor and Employment team offers the expertise and resources necessary to provide advice and counseling to California employers.  Our employment team offers a variety of counseling services to ensure clients are up to date on mandates and engaging in best practices to avoid penalties or litigation.  Please contact us for more information and to learn how we can partner with you.


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