Call To Action
The Utah SHRM Council, in partnership with Salt Lake SHRM, has sponsored House Bill 324—Workplace Violence Protective Orders Amendments—a bill that amends Utah’s protective order statute to allow an employer to seek a judicial protective order against individuals who engage in workplace violence or who threaten to do so. According to a recent interagency study by the Departments of Justice, Labor, and Health & Human Services, on average 1.3 million incidents of non-fatal workplace violence occur every year in American workplaces. Unfortunately, the resources available to employers to address and prevent such violence are limited. That will change if our bill is passed. Our bill will allow employers to protect their workplaces and the people in them by obtaining a workplace violence protective order enjoining those who’ve engaged in violence at work, or threated to do so, from (1) committing violence, (2) harassing the employer or its employees, (3) contacting the employer or its employees, or (4) coming to the workplace. The protective order will allow police to immediately respond and arrest an individual who has violated it, punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.
As the first step towards becoming law, our bill will be heard by the Utah House Judiciary Committee this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in room 110 of the Senate Building.
As an HR professional, we call you to action in support of House Bill 324! There are at least two things you can do this week to support this bill. First, please attend the House Judiciary Committee meeting tomorrow to show your support for our bill! Although you may simply come for the show, you also have the option to speak up in support of the bill by testifying about an experience you’ve had with workplace violence where a protective order could have been helpful. Such testimonies are very brief—limited to only two minutes. If you are interested in testifying at the meeting, please contact our Co-Director of Legal Affairs, Mark Tolman at [email protected]. You also may stream the meeting by following the links on the Committee’s agenda, available here.
Second, write to your local representative this week and ask them to vote in favor of House Bill 324! You’ll find contact information for your local representative on the Legislature’s website here: District Map (utah.gov). To make this process easy, we’ve prepared the following form letter for you. Please just fill in the names of your representatives, your job title, if comfortable the name of your employer, and if applicable a very brief (one paragraph) story about how you’ve dealt with workplace violence as an HR professional.
Re: Preventing Workplace Violence (House Bill 324)
Thank you for your dedicated service to the State of Utah. As one of your constituents, I hope that you will take a few moments to review this letter and the very serious issue it addresses—workplace violence.
I am employed by [insert employer] as its [insert HR title] and am a member of the Salt Lake Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. Utah law does not currently allow an employer to seek a protective order against individuals who engage in workplace violence or who threaten to do so. As a result, I am writing to ask your support for House Bill 324, Workplace Violence Protective Orders Amendments, sponsored by Senator Todd Weiler and Representative Tyler Clancy. This bill will protect both employers and their employees by allowing an employer to seek a judicial protective order against an individual who has engaged in or threatened workplace violence. The bill is not unique—many other state legislatures have enacted similar legislation, including in our neighboring states of Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada.
[If you’ve had an experience with workplace violence where a protective order could have been helpful, insert a brief story about that here – keep to one paragraph].
I hope you will vote in favor of House Bill 324.