New York State Senate Passes “Joanne’s Law” to Combat Workplace Violence

John J. Bonacic

June 19, 2013

The New York State Senate has passed legislation (S.2042) sponsored by Senator Bonacic (R/C/I- Mt. Hope) to help prevent violence in the workplace.  The legislation, known as “Joanne’s Law,” requires notification to an employer or workplace when a former employee is released from incarceration or has violated his or her probation or parole, if they committed a crime in that workplace. 

“This bill is in response to a terrible tragedy in 2005, where an employee of a company who had been fired and later sentenced to 10 years probation for a sex offence.  After violating his probation, the perpetrator returned to the office of his former employer, and shot three managers, one of which was Joanne O’Brien, of Greenwood Lake, who later died of her injuries, and who this bill is named for.  If the employer was notified, it would have enabled them to take the proper measures or precautions to protect themselves and their employees,” said Senator Bonacic.

This bill could safeguard employers, owners and workers from dangerous violence by former employees who have committed crimes in the workplace.  We want to give employers the opportunity to protect themselves from retaliation and vengeance by dangerous former employees.

“It is my hope this bill will prevent horrific incidents of workplace violence, like what happened to Joann and her co-workers, from happening in the future,”  Senator Bonacic concluded.

The Assembly has not yet passed this legislation.