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Workplace Violence in New Jersey

On December 17, 2007, the New Jersey Legislature enacted the “Violence Prevention in Health Care Facilities Act” (A-3027/S-1761). Governor Corzine signed the Act into law on January 3, 2008 to direct health care facilities in New Jersey, including general and specialty hospitals, nursing homes, State and county psychiatric hospitals and State developmental centers, to create programs to fight physical violence or credible threats of violence against employees. Each facility must establish a violence prevention committee to develop and be maintaining a detailed, written violence prevention plan that identifies workplace risks, including:

  • The facility’s layout and access restrictions;
  • Consideration of local crime rates in areas surrounding the facility;
  • Lighting;
  • Communication and alarm devices;
  • Staffing levels;
  • Security staffing;
  • The presence of individuals who may pose a risk of violence; and
  • Reports of violence at the facility.

Each facility must specify ways to reduce the risks it has identified, including training, changes to job design, staffing, security, equipment, and facility modifications. The law requires facilities to establish annual violence prevention training.

When evaluating workplace violence, a person who is not a manager witnessing violence does not make a company legally liable for the actions. A manager who witnesses and does nothing may make the company become negligent for the actions, but not criminally liable.

Workplace violence may come from domestic violence when people in sour relationships likely get killed in the workplace. When preventing workplace violence, look to see if the behavior arises to the threat by a reasonable person. People engaged in workplace violence usually lose functionality, have unusual changes in behavior, cannot be productive because of personal issues. Threat assessment should be conducted to make sure a person is not a threat to him/herself or to others.

Workplace violence can happen to anyone, especially in a poor economy, when there are fewer jobs and longer work hours. Perhaps the answer to workplace violence should not be stiffer punishment, but training in right thinking. Z.B.A.: Zen of Business Administration – How Zen Practice Can Transform Your Work And Your Life by Marc Lesser provides right thinking as applied to the business world. Marc Lesser is a business coach and entrepreneur. There are two steps to thinking: step 1 is when the thought arises, step 2 is intention.

When faced with allegations of workplace violence, engage a New Jersey criminal defense attorney who knows how to argue compassion to reduce prison time and penalties. Contact the Law Office of Jason A. Volet at (732) 503-8968 or fill out the form on the right.

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