Tag: workplace safety
Employer Relies on Hearsay Evidence to Support an the Issuance of a Restraining Order Against an Employee in Order to Prevent Workplace Violence
This case represents one of the scariest scenarios related to workplace safety. Apparently, after being terminated, the former nurse employee and her husband returned to the hospital where she worked to visit some former patients. When told she was not to be in the nurses’ area, her husband made threats to the managing nurses. The court eventually upheld a three-year “stay away” injunction over the plaintiffs’ complaint that the Court relied on hearsay statements to issue the injunction. The statute involved, which is similar to that found in many states, allows an employer to seek a temporary restraining order and an injunction on the behalf of an employee who has already suffered violence or a credible threat of violence carried out in the workplace. The employer may obtain a temporary restraining order if the affected employee files an affidavit that, to the satisfaction of the court, shows reasonable proof that an employee has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence by the defendant, and that greater irreparable harm would result to an employee.
The question in this case is whether typical rules of evidence (like those related to hearsay) apply to this type of procedure. The court ruled that due to the unique and expedited context pertaining to a workplace violence injunctions that the typical rules of evidence do not apply. Kaiser Foundation Hospital v. Jeff Wilson, 4th Appellate District http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/D058491.PDF
Lesson to employers: You have an obligation to seek these types of injunctions should you catch wind of a credible threat. Remember, the last thing you want is to have any regret afterward because you did not make every effort possible to prevent violence, even if based on hearsay statements.