Violence in the Workplace

Workplace violence takes many forms. It can include verbal threats, physical assault — even death — and poses a significant threat to the safety, security and well-being of employers and employees.

Of great concern when it comes to violence in the workplace is that businesses continue to under-report non-fatal injuries, which can lead to apathy and less than adequate protection of workplaces. Also of concern is the lack of urgency with which employers' communicate their emergency preparedness plans to employees, as evidence by a recent report that found 30 percent of workers polled reported being unaware of their employers' plans of this nature — plans that were in place, but not shared.

For some time now, health care employers in California have been required to address workplace violence (see Industry-Specific Workplace Violence Requirements); for non-health care employers, however, workplace violence has long been regulated using Cal/OSHA's Injury and Illness Prevention standard (see Injury and Illness Prevention Program).

  • On September 30, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 553, enacting general industry workplace violence prevention requirements. This new law, which takes effect on July 1, 2024, requires almost all California employers to develop a workplace violence prevention plan, train employees and maintain a log of violent incidents. For more information, see California Workplace Violence Prevention Standards.


CalChamber would like to thank Dennis A. Davis, Ph.D., for his contribution to the Violence in the Workplace chapter.

Dennis is recognized nationally as an expert on workplace violence prevention, workplace bullying, conflict resolution, sexual harassment and cultural diversity. He serves as the National Director of Client Training for Ogletree Deakins, a nationwide labor and employment law firm. In that capacity, he develops and implements training programs that are designed to minimize the risks associated with inappropriate employee behavior.

Dennis has spent many years writing, researching and lecturing at large and small workplaces on the recognition, prevention and response to workplace violence.

Further Information

Some of the information in this chapter was based on Cal/OSHA’s Guidelines for Workplace Security. For a complete copy of the guidelines, write to:

Department of Industrial Relations
Division of Occupational Safety and Health
1515 Clay Street, Suite 1901
Oakland, CA 94612