Obtaining Workplace Violence Restraining Orders
Helping Employers Protect Employees On the Job
Sometimes employees are subject to violence or threats on-the-job by third parties. This might include threats to use physical violence, such as attempts to stop construction workers or maintenance people from engaging in a building project that the offender considers objectionable. California law permits a special form of restraining order to be implemented for the protection of employees, independent contractors or volunteers engaged in work-related activities that have their safety and security threatened by actual or threatened violence.
If your employee (or an independent contractor or volunteer) is subjected to disturbing or threatening situations, San Francisco Workplace Violence Restraining Order Attorney Lucy S. McAllister represents employers and businesses seeking protection for their employees. While an employee may also have the ability to obtain a Civil Harassment Restraining Order in the Bay Area when he or she is being harassed, abused or threatened with violence, a Workplace Violence Restraining Order (WVRO) permits the employer to petition the court for the restraining order rather than requiring the employee to pursue the request personally.
The Process of Seeking Restraining and Protective Orders for an Employee
Ms. McAllister understands the urgency of obtaining prompt relief when employees are threatened by workplace violence so she typically files emergency applications (called “ex parte”) so that a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to protect the employee can be in force as early as the same day or the next court day. When your employees or contractors are subject to threats and acts of violence, we know that their safety and ability to be productive on-the-job are matters that require urgent attention.
When Ms. McAllister petitions the court for a TRO and appears in court to argue the merits of a permanent Workplace Violence Restraining Order in San Jose, San Francisco or elsewhere throughout the greater Bay Area, she will need to provide the court with certain type of evidence. The judge will need information on the specific incidents and details regarding any violent acts or intimidating threats. If you keep a log of the incidents, this can be useful in preparing the request. Any threatening emails, letters, text messages, voice mails or other communications received by the employee while on-the-job should be saved and provided to Ms. McAllister for use at the restraining order hearing. Employers should also have policies in place that allow reporting of workplace violence incidents because this may generate evidence to be used when seeking a WVRO.
The TRO will provided protection until the hearing on permanent restraining orders, which will be about 15-25 days. At the hearing regarding permanent restraining orders, the proceedings will be much like a trial with each side able to offer testimony, conduct cross-examination and submit documentary evidence. While there is no requirement that you be represented by an experienced Workplace Violence Restraining Order Lawyer, the paperwork can be complicated and the evidentiary standard for imposing the restraining order is “clear and convincing” so persuasive advocacy on the law and facts is important. If the court grants the permanent restraining order, it will be effective for three years.
The order will not have legal effect until it is served on the party so Ms. McAllister has this done immediately following issuance of the restraining order. Once the order is received by law enforcement, it will be entered into the California Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (CLETS) so that police officers and law enforcement agencies across California are alerted that a restraining order exists.
Legal Standard for Obtaining a Violence Based Employee Protective Order
California Code of Civil Procedure Section 527.8 sets for the legal standard for obtaining a restraining order based on threats of violence or violence against an employee in the workplace. For an employer to obtain a restraining order to protect an employee under this provision, evidence must be produced showing:
- Violence or a credible threat of violence against an employee (examples include stalking, assault or battery)
- The workplace as the location of the acts of violence or receipt of the threats
- Lack of legitimate justification for the conduct, such as constitutionally protected activity or a lawful labor dispute
If the conduct at issue constitutes only threatening actions or statements, the threatening behavior or comments must be significant enough that they would cause a reasonable fear for one’s safety or the safety of one’s family. Even telephone calls, emails, text messages and other forms of communication over a brief period may be sufficient to justify a Workplace Violence Restraining Order provided it meets this “reasonableness” standard.
Protections Provided by a WVRO Issued by a Bay Area Court
San Francisco Workplace Violence Restraining Order Lawyer Lucy S. McAllister has the ability to seek a broad range of protections for restraining orders granted pursuant to CCP §527.8, which include the following:
- Stay away orders that prohibit the other party from going near the employee or family members of the employee or other employees
- Bar on gun ownership or possession by the offending party
- Ban on approaching the school, workplace or the protected party’s kids’ school
There are situations where a Domestic Violence Restraining Order or a Civil Harassment Restraining Order provide alternatives so a person considering a restraining order should seek legal advice regarding the best option to fit the person’s unique situation.
Negative Impact of Being Subject to a Protective Order
If you are served with paperwork indicating that an employer is seeking a WVRO against you, it is important to respond and dispute the appropriateness of granting the order. A restraining order can have serious adverse consequences on the person named as the restricted party that include:
- Adverse impact on immigrations status
- Restrictions on where you may travel, live and work
- Bans on ownership, use, purchase or possession of a gun
- Denial of employment opportunities based on background checks revealing the WVRO
- Damage to your reputation
Once a restraining order is imposed, the party restricted by its provisions may also face criminal liability for a violation. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, violation of a San Jose Workplace Violence Restraining Order can constitute a felony and result in both incarceration and/or significant fines.
Advantages of Utilizing Workplace Violence Restraining Order Lawyer Lucy S. McAllister
Ms. McAllister’s law practice is focused in the areas of criminal and family law so she has extensive experience with the process of requesting, opposing restraining orders of all types including San Francisco Workplace Violence Restraining Orders. Because the decision to make such a restraining order “permanent,” which means it has a duration of three years, will depend on the preservation and gathering of evidence and persuasive presentation of that evidence in court, legal representation by a Bay Area Restraining Order Attorney with experience that includes 25 years handling restraining order cases and over 200 Superior Court trials can provide a significant advantage in court.
Ms. McAllister may utilize a number of effective defenses to protect a person from the adverse impact of being subject to a restraining order. Some of these strategies include:
- Establishing that the behavior would not cause fear in a reasonable person
- Lack of evidence to satisfy the “clear and convincing” burden of proof
No credible threat of violence
- Actions were legitimate exercise of constitutional rights or lawful labor activities
If your workplace is being compromised by threats or workplace violence against an employee, San Francisco Workplace Violence Restraining Order Lawyer Lucy S. McAllister uses her extensive experience in Bay Area protective order proceedings to diligently facilitate a safe work environment for companies and their employees. Our Bay Area Restraining Order Law Firm also provides tenacious defense against restraining order requests that constitute a thinly veiled attempt to suppress legitimate protests or labor activity. We offer a confidential consultation in our conveniently located San Francisco and San Jose offices so that we can explain your options and the court process.