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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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Duty of public employers to develop and implement programs to prevent workplace violence
§ 27-b. Duty of public employers to develop and implement programs to
prevent workplace violence. 1. Purpose. The purpose of this section is
to ensure that the risk of workplace assaults and homicides is evaluated
by affected public employers and their employees and that such employers
design and implement workplace violence protection programs to prevent
and minimize the hazard of workplace violence to public employees.

2. Definitions. For the purposes of this section:

a. "Employer" means: (1) the state; (2) a political subdivision of the
state, provided, however that this subdivision shall not mean any
employer as defined in section twenty-eight hundred one-a of the
education law; (3) a public authority, a public benefit corporation, or
any other governmental agency or instrumentality thereof; and (4) an
authorized agency as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision ten of
section three hundred seventy-one of the social services law that
accepts children adjudicated delinquent under article three of the
family court act.

b. "Employee" means a public employee working for an employer.

c. "Workplace" means any location away from an employee's domicile,
permanent or temporary, where an employee performs any work-related duty
in the course of his or her employment by an employer.

d. "Supervisor" means any person within an employer's organization who
has the authority to direct and control the work performance of an
employee, or who has the authority to take corrective action regarding
the violation of a law, rule or regulation to which an employee submits
written notice.

e. "Retaliatory action" means the discharge, suspension, demotion,
penalization, or discrimination against any employee, or other adverse
employment action taken against an employee in the terms and conditions
of employment.

3. Risk evaluation and determination. Every employer shall evaluate
its workplace or workplaces to determine the presence of factors or
situations in such workplace or workplaces that might place employees at
risk of occupational assaults and homicides. Examples of such factors
shall include, but not limited to:

a. working in public settings (e.g., social services or other
governmental workers, police officers, firefighters, teachers, public
transportation drivers, health care workers, and service workers);

b. working late night or early morning hours;

c. exchanging money with the public;

d. working alone or in small numbers;

e. uncontrolled access to the workplace; and

f. areas of previous security problems.

4. Written workplace violence prevention program. Every employer with
at least twenty full time permanent employees shall develop and
implement a written workplace violence prevention program for its
workplace or workplaces that includes the following:

a. a list of the risk factors identified in subdivision three of this
section that are present in such workplace or workplaces;

b. the methods the employer will use to prevent incidents of
occupational assaults and homicides at such workplace or workplaces,
including but not limited to the following:

(1) making high-risk areas more visible to more people;

(2) installing good external lighting;

(3) using drop safes or other methods to minimize cash on hand;

(4) posting signs stating that limited cash is on hand;

(5) providing training in conflict resolution and nonviolent
self-defense responses; and

(6) establishing and implementing reporting systems for incidents of
aggressive behavior.

5. Employee information and training. a. Every employer with at least
twenty permanent full time employees shall make the written workplace
violence prevention program available, upon request, to its employees,
their designated representatives and the department.

b. Every employer shall provide its employees with the following
information and training on the risks of occupational assaults and
homicides in their workplace or workplaces at the time of their initial
assignment and annually thereafter:

(1) employees shall be informed of the requirements of this section,
the risk factors in their workplace or workplaces, and the location and
availability of the written workplace violence prevention program
required by this section; and

(2) employee training shall include at least: (a) the measures
employees can take to protect themselves from such risks, including
specific procedures the employer has implemented to protect employees,
such as appropriate work practices, emergency procedures, use of
security alarms and other devices, and (b) the details of the written
workplace violence prevention program developed by the employer.

6. Application. a. Any employee or representative of employees who
believes that a serious violation of a workplace violence protection
program exists or that an imminent danger exists shall bring such matter
to the attention of a supervisor in the form of a written notice and
shall afford the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct such
activity, policy or practice. This referral shall not apply where
imminent danger or threat exists to the safety of a specific employee or
to the general health of a specific patient and the employee reasonably
believes in good faith that reporting to a supervisor would not result
in corrective action.

b. If following a referral of such matter to the employee's
supervisor's attention and after a reasonable opportunity to correct
such activity, policy or practice the matter has not been resolved and
the employee or representative of employees still believes that a
violation of a workplace violence prevention program remains, or that an
imminent danger exists, such employee or representative of employees may
request an inspection by giving notice to the commissioner of such
violation or danger. Such notice and request shall be in writing, shall
set forth with reasonable particularity the grounds for the notice,
shall be signed by such employee or representative of employees, and a
copy shall be provided by the commissioner to the employer or the person
in charge no later than the time of inspection, except that on the
request of the person giving such notice, such person's name and the
names of individual employees or representatives of employees shall be
withheld. Such inspection shall be made forthwith.

c. A representative of the employer and an authorized employee
representative shall be given the opportunity to accompany the
commissioner during an inspection for the purpose of aiding such
inspection. Where there is no authorized employee representative, the
commissioner shall consult with a reasonable number of employees
concerning matters of safety in the workplace.

d. The authority of the commissioner to inspect a premises pursuant to
such an employee complaint shall not be limited to the alleged violation
contained in such complaint. The commissioner may inspect any other area
of the premises in which he or she has reason to believe that a serious
violation of this section exists.

e. No employer shall take retaliatory action against any employee
because the employee does any of the following:

(1) makes an application pursuant to paragraph a of this subdivision;

(2) requests an inspection as authorized in paragraph b of this

(3) accompanies the commissioner as authorized in paragraph c of this

f. The commissioner may, upon his or her own initiative, conduct an
inspection of any premises occupied by an employer if he or she has
reason to believe that a violation of this section has occurred or if he
or she has a general administrative plan for the enforcement of this
section, including a general schedule of inspections, which provide a
rational administrative basis for such inspecting. Within one hundred
twenty days of the effective date of this paragraph the commissioner
shall adopt rules and regulations implementing the provisions of this

g. Any information obtained by the commissioner pursuant to this
subdivision shall be obtained with a minimum burden upon the employers.

h. When a request for an inspection has been made in a situation where
there is an allegation of an imminent danger such that an employee would
be subjecting himself or herself to serious injury or death because of
the hazardous condition in the workplace, the inspection shall be given
the highest priority by the department and shall be carried out