Employment Law News
An employee receives an actual threat of workplace violence—what do you do? Effective December 1, 2004, North Carolina employers have another tool to help prevent workplace violence. The recently enacted Workplace Violence Prevention Act allows employers to seek a civil no-contact order on behalf of an employee who has been threatened with or actually suffered physical harm as a result of an individual’s action.
Examples of this action include:
a. Attempting to cause or intentionally causing bodily injury;
b. On more than one occasion, intentionally following, being in the presence of, or otherwise harassing, and intending to place the employee in reasonable fear for his safety; and
c. Willfully threatening, verbally or in writing, to injure the employee under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that the threat is likely to be carried out.
Before an employer files the no contact order in state district court, the employer must consult with the employee "to determine whether any safety concerns exist in relation to the employee’s participation in the process." The court may issue a temporary or permanent no-contact order.
Relief granted by the court may include ordering an individual to stop visiting, assaulting, harassing or otherwise interfering with the employer or the employee at the workplace; to cease stalking the employee at the workplace; not to abuse or injure the employer, including the employer’s property, or the employee at the workplace; and, not to contact, by any means, the employer or the employee at the workplace.
North Carolina employers should be aware the Act prohibits employers from disciplining employees who are targets of unlawful conduct and who are unwilling to cooperate in the process set out in the Act.
Clients should consult with their Moore & Van Allen employment attorney as this remedy may not be appropriate in all circumstances.