Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New York's Recent Workplace Violence Law for Public Employers

On March 4, 2007 ( a Sunday, no less), New York Labor Law Section 27-b went into effect. The law is also referred to as the "New York State Public Employer Workplace Violence Prevention Law." In a nutshell, the new law is intended to prevent violence in public workplaces by means of employer risk assessment as well as the implementation of response and prevention strategies, including employee training programs . All New York public employers (except for schools covered by the Education Law) are affected.

Despite my initial skepticism, I've come to appreciate that the new law is not simply just another governmental hurdle for employers to navigate. It deals with real life situations. About a week after the law went into effect, I was advised of a workplace violence incident involving an employee of a local public employer. Fortunately, no one was physically harmed and the employee was removed from the premises. The employee has been suspended without pay and termination of the employment is now being sought based on that incident as well as other, unrelated disciplinary charges.

I guess the occurrence of the incident so soon after the effective date of the statute really hit home for me. Sometimes, government gets it right ... I think it did in this instance. Go figure!

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