Workplace Violence Restraining Orders

If you are an employer, and you have an employee who has suffered a credible and real threat of violence at the workplace, you can ask for a Workplace Violence Restraining Order. In this case, the employer is able to get a restraining order, protecting someone else. How does that work?

1. The Employee cannot formally ask for a Workplace Violence Restraining Order.
He or she can seek a Civil Harassment Restraining Order, or a Domestic Violence Restraining Order if he or she being abused by a spouse, partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, or other family member. If you or your employee is in immediate danger, please call 911.

2. The Employer is the one who can seek a Workplace Violence Restraining Order.
He can seek this order to protect an employee who has suffered stalking, serious harassment, violence, or a real and credible threat of violence in the workplace by another person. This type of order can last for up to three years, and the court can require that the restrained person not contact, harass or threaten the employee, and can also require that the restrained person not have a gun.

3. Why would an employer want to seek a Workplace Violence Restraining Order?
Workplace violence and harassment can create an unstable, unsafe, unproductive and unattractive working environment, both for employees and for customers and clients who may witness harassing behavior. Obtaining a Workplace Violence Restraining Order may help employers protect their employees and businesses by keeping away individuals demonstrating legally inappropriate behavior. This type of restraining order can help restore peace, safety, and productivity. It is important to note that the employee can be protected by a Workplace Violence Restraining Order, and at the same time be protected by a Civil Harassment or Domestic Violence Restraining Order.

4. How can an employer obtain a Workplace Violence Restraining Order?
When an employer asks the court to issue a workplace violence restraining order, the employer must file court forms telling the judge what orders it wants and why. What happens after the forms are filed varies a little from court to court, but the general steps in the court case are:

  1. The employer wanting protection for the employee files court forms asking for the restraining order.
  2. If a temporary restraining order is requested, the judge will decide whether or not to make the order by the next business day. Sometimes the judge decides sooner.
  3. If the judge issues (gives) the orders requested, he or she will first make “temporary” orders that only last until the court date. The court date will be on the paperwork. These temporary orders can include issues like ordering the person to have no contact with the protected employee or ordering the restrained person to stay away from the protected employee.
  4. The employer will have to “serve” the person to be restrained with a copy of all the papers filed before the hearing date. This means that someone 18 or older (NOT involved in the case) must hand-deliver a copy of all the papers to the person to be restrained.
  5. The employer, the employee, and the person to be restrained should go to the court hearing. Participation matters! If the employer does not go to the hearing, any temporary restraining orders that have been issued will usually end that day and there will NOT be a restraining order issued at the hearing. If the person to be restrained does not go to the hearing, he or she will have no input in the case and his or her side of the story will not be taken into account.
  6. At the hearing, the judge will decide to continue the temporary restraining order, issue a different restraining order, or deny the requested order entirely. If the judge decides to issue a restraining order, it may last up to 3 years.

5. For more on the types of protective restraining orders available, please look at the description for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order.

This basic tutorial encompasses the general rules regarding Workplace Violence Restraining Orders, but keep in mind that caveats may exist depending on the circumstances. Perform your due diligence before acting, or contact me for a consultation if you have any questions.