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Workplace Violence

  • September 28, 2001

We frequently receive calls from clients concerned that a particular employee may pose a threat to the safety of others. Often, the employer has been made aware of the potential problem by a co-worker who perceives remarks made by the employee to be threatening, and the co-worker wants the employer to take protective action. While it is a relatively simple matter to terminate the employee making the threat (there is no statutory protection against termination for behavior involving verbal or physical threats to a co-worker), the challenge is ensuring that the former employee does not return to the workplace to carry out the threat. Under current law, an employer cannot obtain a restraining order against a former employee; only the threatened co-worker can, but may be unwilling, to do so.

The Central Florida Human Resource Association has drafted a bill, entitled the "Model Workplace Violence Safety Act", that would allow employers to seek emergency relief in the nature of a temporary restraining order on behalf of an employee who has been the victim of an assault, harassment, stalking, domestic violence, repeat violence or who has suffered a credible threat of violence. The intent of the bill is to provide employers a way to keep violence out of the workplace. The bill's sponsor in the Florida House of Representatives is Representative Leslie Walters of St. Petersburg.

©2001 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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