A California bill that aims to protect workers from violence within their workplace has cleared a major hurdle and is headed toward a full state Assembly vote.
Senate Bill 553 would require all employers statewide to establish, implement and maintain a workplace violence prevention plan that employees will have a hand developing.
The measure was introduced by Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San Jose).
The bill defines workplace violence as “any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs in a place of employment, which includes but is not limited to threat or use of physical force against an employee and incident involving a threat or use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon.”
Democratic lawmakers in the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to advance the measure with amendments. Some employers exempt from the bill include businesses with less than 10 workers and remote employees working from a location that their employers do not control, according to the bill’s text.
Similar protections have been in place for health care workers since 2007.
The California Chamber of Commerce, which lobbied for changes to the measure, withdrew its opposition due to the recent amendments.
A study from California’s Department on Industrial Relations found that 57 people died from workplace violence, and nationally, an average of 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes in the workplace occurred annually from 2015 to 2019.