Workplace Restraining Orders: An Important Tool for Maintaining a Safe Work Environment and Protecting Against Liability
Mary in accounting is having problems with her ex-boyfriend, who’s been harassing her at work. He calls her repeatedly and sometimes lurks in the company parking lot. Mary’s shared her concerns with co-workers. The situation has now been brought to your attention. What should you do?
Incidents; of workplace violence are on the rise. In fact, the latest statistics from OSHA reveal that nearly two million Americans report having witnessed incidents of workplace violence, ranging from threats and harassment, to actual physical abuse. As an employer, you have a legal obligation to ensure your employees’ safety, and failure to do so may expose the company to liability. Indeed, once you are made aware of even a potential safety issue, you have a duty to act. But depending on the severity of the situation, calling the police will likely only result in the taking of a police report. And police presence in your workplace might be a distraction adding to employee concerns. So, what to do? Consider a Workplace Violence Restraining Order.
Under California Civil Code of Procedure section 527.8 a court can issue upon request of the employer a restraining order to protect employees from even the threat of violence at the workplace. A credible threat of violence is something that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety. Things such as, harassing phone calls, text messages, voice mails, or e-mails could warrant a court issuing a restraining order. As an employer seeking a restraining order, you are taking an important step for the aggrieved employee, while also assuring other employees that their safety and wellbeing is paramount. Also, the police must intercede once a court grants a restraining order. A temporary order typically lasts up to 21 days, while a “permanent” order lasts up to three years. The court will issue a workplace violence restraining order only when it is requested by the employer on behalf of the employee.
If you have reason to believe a workplace violence restraining order might be necessary in your situation, you should contact an experienced attorney familiar with the legal procedures. Successfully obtaining a restraining order involves investigation, proper preparation of numerous legal documents, and a hearing before a judge. It is also necessary to obtain signed declarations from the aggrieved employee and other witnesses. Failure to properly investigate, document, and litigate the matter will result in the judge denying your request for a restraining order.
At Quinn & Dworakowski LLP., we have decades of experience in obtaining restraining orders for our clients. Our attorneys and investigators know the law and are skilled at helping you ensure the safety of your employees. We handle every aspect of the case, including discretely and compassionately interviewing the aggrieved party and potential witnesses. Give us a call; we’ll take it from there.
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