Workplace Violence Restraining Orders in California
This guide can help you:
- Understand who can ask for this type of restraining order
- Follow the process of getting a restraining order
- Learn what you must do if you received restraining order papers
- Find free resources for help with the process
In California, an employer can ask for a court order to protect one or more employees from a person who has stalked, harassed, been violent or threatened violence at the workplace. Abuse at the workplace can include threats of violence that happen in person, over the phone, by mail, or online. It can also mean following an employee to or from work or during work hours. The employer can ask for protection for an employee who has been the target of abuse, other employees who may also be in danger, and the family or household members of employees.
There are different types of restraining orders. A workplace violence restraining order can be granted against anyone who has been violent or threatened violence against one or more employees at a workplace. Only the employer can ask for a workplace violence restraining order.
Only an employer can ask for a Workplace Violence Restraining Order. If someone has abused, threatened, or harassed you and you need a Restraining Order to protect you outside your workplace, there are other types of restraining orders you can request.
What can a restraining order do?
A judge can grant a restraining order to protect employees, their families or household members, and the workplace. Once a restraining order is in place, the police can be called to enforce the order.
A workplace violence restraining order can include these types of orders:
- No contact
- Not harass, stalk, threaten, or harm people protected by the order
- Stay away from people protected by the order, and the workplace
- Cannot own or have firearms or ammunition
Who can ask for a workplace violence restraining order?
Only an employer can ask for a workplace violence restraining order. An employer is someone engaged in business in California, including government agencies and offices.
- If you are the employer and have a registered legal entity for your business, such as a corporation (including a non-profit corporation) or an LLC, a lawyer must represent your business in this case.
- If you have a sole proprietorship (you are the only owner of an incorporated business), you may hire a lawyer or represent yourself.
- If you are the employee, you do not need a lawyer. You may be asked to testify in this case and can be a person who is protected by the restraining order. If you have questions about restraining orders or need protection outside the workplace, you can get information from your local Self-Help Center.
Who can be protected by a workplace violence restraining order?
An employer can ask for protection for one or more employees. Volunteers, part-time workers, independent contractors, and board members are all considered employees who can be protected by this type of restraining order. In some cases, the employer can ask that spouses of employees be protected as well.
Who can be restrained by a workplace violence restraining order?
An employer can ask for a restraining order against a person who has been violent, threatened violence, or stalked one or more employees. An employer can't get a restraining order against a corporation or business.
Members of a local organization are picketing outside a workplace to protest working conditions at the business. The organization's website lists the business owner's name and the names of other employees and encourages others to picket outside the business. Can the employer get a workplace violence restraining order against the organization or the picketers?
Probably not if the picketing was peaceful. Peaceful picketing or protesting on public property is a constitutionally protected activity. The employer can't file a workplace violence restraining order against the website owner since it is an organization, not a person.
Every case is different. To get advice about your situation and get more information about restraining orders, talk to a lawyer.
How does an employer ask for a workplace violence restraining order?
The employer will need to complete a few court forms. The forms will ask for a detailed description of the abuse the employee has experienced. In most counties, the judge will decide whether to grant temporary protection just based on the completed court forms. The judge will make this decision the same day the school official turns in the forms, or by the next business day. The judge will also schedule a court hearing (court date), about 2-3 weeks from the time the court forms are turned in. at the court haring, the judge will decide whether to grant a long-term restraining order.
What if someone asked for a restraining order against me?
If someone has filed court papers to ask for a restraining order against you, carefully read over the papers you were given.
- If you were served with form WV-110, this means the judge granted a temporary restraining order against you. You must follow all the orders granted by the judge. If you don't, you could be arrested and charged with a crime.
- You will have a court date, which is listed on form WV-109. Make sure to go to your court date if you do not agree to the restraining order. At the court date, a judge will decide whether to grant a restraining order against you that can last up to three years.
This guide can help you figure out your options to "respond" and prepare for your case. Respond means to tell the judge if you agree or don't agree to the request for a restraining order. It’s possible to go through this process without a lawyer, but having a restraining order against you may have a lot of consequences, and you may want to hire a lawyer. You don't need a lawyer in this case, but if you want one you will have to hire one. You can also get free help from a court Self-Help Center.