NY legislature passes bill requiring nonprofits to create workplace violence prevention programs

June 22, 2015

Employment Law Alert

Author(s): Anita L. Pelletier, Michael J. Cooney

Nonprofit organizations in New York will be required to create and implement workplace violence prevention programs. This alert discusses what employers need to know in order to comply with the law.

As part of a flurry of activity during last week’s end of session rush, both houses of the New York legislature passed a bill requiring New York nonprofits to create and implement workplace violence prevention programs. Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the bill, which will become effective one year after it is signed into law. The bill extends a requirement, which was implemented in 2006 for all public sector employers, to all New York nonprofit corporations that receive at least 50% of their funding from municipal, state or federal government sources, including Medicare or Medicaid. Compliance with the law will likely be monitored by the New York State Department of Labor’s Division of Health and Safety, Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH) Bureau. In order to comply with the law, covered employers must:

  • Develop and post a written policy statement about the employer’s workplace violence prevention program goals and objectives.
  • Conduct a risk evaluation by examining the workplace for potential hazards related to workplace violence.
  • Develop a workplace violence prevention program (preferably in writing, although that is only required for employers with 20 or more full-time permanent employees) that explains how the policy is actually going to be implemented. The program will include details about the risks that were identified in the evaluation and describe how the employer will address those risks. It will also include a system to report any incidents of workplace violence, among other things.
  • Provide training and information for employees around the workplace violence prevention program, including any risk factors identified and what employees can do to protect themselves. 
  • Document workplace violence incidents and maintain those records. 

While workplace violence policies are common across most both public and private employers, the implementation of the requirements set forth above on New York’s nonprofits demonstrates yet another example of increased regulation of these entities in New York. Even though the law’s effective date is delayed, employers should begin considering the contours of these required workplace programs now.

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of the firm. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel. If you have any questions or require any further information regarding these or other related matters, please contact your regular Nixon Peabody LLP representative. This material may be considered advertising under certain rules of professional conduct.

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