NSC Business and Industry Division news NSC Labor Division news Workplace violence State laws

Workplace violence prevention law lets Utah employers seek protective orders


Photo: Utah State Office of the Governor 

Provo, UT — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) has signed a law allowing employers to petition for and obtain protective orders against anyone who poses a threat.

Signed March 14 and set to go into effect July 1, the Workplace Violence Protective Orders Amendments (H.B. 324) defines workplace violence as “knowingly causing or threatening to cause bodily injury to, or significant damage to the property of, a person, if the person is an employer or an employee performing the employee’s duties.”

According to bill sponsor Rep. Tyler Clancy (R-Provo), the legislation doesn’t modify an employer’s duty to provide a safe workplace. Instead, it offers another tool for employers to address workplace violence concerns and keep workers safe. 

According to NIOSH, workplace violence ranges from verbal abuse to physical assault, and the impact on victims can range from psychological issues and physical injuries to death. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that more than 20,000 workers in the private industry experienced trauma from nonfatal workplace violence that required days away from work in 2020. Additionally, 392 workers were killed in incidents of workplace violence.

The new law states that if a specific individual is the target of workplace violence, an employer seeking a protective order must make a “good faith effort” to notify that individual. It also lists the actions courts must take after issuing a protective order, including setting a date for a hearing within a certain time period.

“By implementing measures to prevent workplace violence, Utah employers can protect their employees and create a culture of safety and respect in the workplace,” Clancy, who also serves as a Provo police officer, said in a press release. “This will lead to a more engaged and productive workforce, as employees feel valued, safe and supported in their work.”

The bill was backed by the Salt Lake City chapter of the Society for Human Resources and the Utah SHRM Council, according to the release.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)