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Kacey Riccomini and Aya Elalami Discuss Workplace Violence Concerns in Daily Journal Article

August 3, 2023

In a recent article for the Daily Journal, Labor & Employment partner Kacey Riccomini and associate Aya Elalami shed light on the increasing concern of workplace violence and its impact on employers burdened by rising thefts and violence. The article, "Smash and grabs and other crimes mean more work for employers," was published on August 2, 2023.

With the surge in retail thefts, including alarming "flash robs" or "smash and grab" incidents involving large groups, the safety of employees has become a critical issue. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) currently requires employers to provide a safe working environment, specific guidelines for addressing workplace violence have been lacking. However, the General Duty Clause Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 places the responsibility on employers to ensure a workplace free from recognized hazards that may cause death or serious physical harm.

To address the gap in guidance, the California Senate recently passed a bill (SB 553) aimed at imposing greater obligations on employers in managing workplace violence. If enacted, SB 553 would require several provisions, including maintaining a Violent Incident Log, providing active shooter training for non-healthcare employers, and offering shoplifter training for retail employers.

The proposed legislation emphasizes the importance of establishing comprehensive workplace violence prevention programs, conducting training, and implementing effective reporting mechanisms. Employers are urged to work with their counsel to develop and implement safety plans and policies to mitigate potential liability.

Daily Journal subscribers can read the full article here.