A workplace violence restraining order is a California court order obtained by an employer for the purpose of protecting an employee from a threat of unlawful violence, immediate danger, or abuse at the workplace. The abusive co-worker is referred to as a restrained party, while the person protected in the order is known as the protected party.
A workplace violence restraining order in California can remain in effect for up to three years.
If a restrained party violates it during this time, the restrained party can be arrested by a law enforcement agency for violating Penal Code 273.6 PC.
Violating a restraining order is typically charged as a misdemeanor (as opposed to an infraction or a felony) under California law. Misdemeanors are punishable by:
- custody in county jail for up to one year, and/or
- a maximum fine of $1,000.
Our California criminal defense attorneys will highlight the following in this article:
- 1. What is a workplace violence restraining order?
- 2. How long does the order last?
- 3. What happens if a restrained person violates the order?
- 4. Can a restrained person possess a firearm?
- 5. How do I get a workplace violence restraining order?
- 6. Does a protective order show up on a background check?
1. What is a workplace violence restraining order?
In California, a workplace violence restraining order is obtained by an employer on behalf of an employee.1 The employer files for the order in order to protect the employee from:
- credible threats of violence,
- immediate danger, or
- abuse at the workplaces of the employer.2
Note that an employee cannot request this type of order. If an employee seeks protection from a co-worker, the employee must ask for either:
- a civil harassment restraining order,
- an elder abuse or dependent adult abuse restraining order,
- a domestic violence restraining order.
2. How long does the order last?
The maximum length of a California workplace violence protective order is three years from the court date or court hearing date upon which the order was issued.3
Some orders, though, are only valid for months or even days. Examples of these types include:
- temporary restraining orders (or “TROs”),4 and
- emergency protective orders.5
3. What happens if a restrained person violates the order?
Per California Penal Code 273.6 PC, it is a criminal offense if a restrained person violates a restraining order.
A prosecutor must prove the following to convict a person under this law:
- a court lawfully issued a protective order,6
- the defendant knew of the court order,
- the defendant had the ability to follow the court order, and
- the accused willfully violated the court order. 7
A violation of Penal Code 273.6 is a misdemeanor in most cases.
The crime is typically punishable by:
- imprisonment in the county jail (as opposed to state prison) for up to one year, and/or
- a maximum fine of $1,000.8
4. Can a restrained person possess a firearm?
Restrained parties in a workplace violence restraining order may not own, possess, or purchase a firearm for as long the order is in effect.
A person that violates these prohibitions can be charged with a crime under California Penal Code 29825 PC.9
5. How do I get a workplace violence restraining order?
A California employer can file a petition for workplace violence restraining orders by going to court (usually a California Superior Court) and completing the necessary restraining order forms. Alternatively, the person’s attorney can complete the forms.
In applying for the order, the employer must describe why it is requesting protection from another party. Once complete, the party files the forms with the court clerk. There is no fee.
A judge then reviews the forms and decides by the next business day whether or not to issue a temporary restraining order. If issued, the temporary order will usually last for 21 days.
Following the issuance of the TRO, the court will determine whether or not to issue a permanent restraining order after hearing evidence on the matter. Prior to this hearing, a notice of court hearing must be given to the restrained party via a process server.10
Once the notice is given, the restrained party can contest the restraining order by attending the hearing. During this proceeding, the restrained party has the opportunity to explain, excuse, justify, or deny the alleged harassment or threatening behavior.11
If the evidence shows that the protected person warrants a restraining order, the court issues one. The order then remains in effect for three years.12
6. Does a protective order show up on a background check?
The fact that a restrained party had a restraining order issued against them typically will not show up on a background check.
This is because protective orders are civil in nature as opposed to criminal. This means the legal proceedings that involve the orders take place in civil court rather than a criminal court.
With that said, however, some companies and parties perform intensive checks. A restraining order may show up then if an entity runs a detailed report.
Were you or a family member arrested by a law enforcement officer in California? For legal advice or to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group by phone, text message, or our intake form. Our law firm serves clients statewide across California, including those in the Los Angeles area.
- See California Courts website, workplace violence restraining order.
- See same.
- California Code of Civil Procedure 527.8 CCP.
- See California Code of Civil Procedure 527.6 CCP.
- See California Penal Code 646.91 PC.
- People v. Gonzalez (1996) 12 Cal.4th 804; and, In re Berry (1968) 68 Cal.2d 13.
- CALCRIM No. 2701 — Violation of Court Order, Protective Order, or Stay Away. Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2017 edition).
- California Penal Code 273.6 PC.
- See note 3.
- See note 3. See also Severson & Werson, P.C. v. Sepehry-Fard (City of Los Angeles v. Herman (. Temporary orders are issued ex parte, meaning that the restrained party does not have to be given notice or an opportunity to appear , 2020) , 2019) . See also
- See note 3. See also Goals for Autism v. Rosas (. 2021)
- See note 3.