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NYS Implements Requirements for Public School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs 

A recent amendment to New York’s Section 27-b of the Labor Law (Workplace Violence Prevention Law) significantly extends mandatory workplace violence prevention measures to public school districts, charter schools, and boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES). While previously exempt, public schools are now required to develop and implement formal workplace violence prevention programs, mirroring the obligations of other public employers in the state. These changes became effective January 4, 2024, but covered employers have until May 3 to be in full compliance based on a phased timeline for implementation as follows: 

  1. The employer’s Policy Statement must have been completed within 30 days of the law going into effect (February 3, 2024)
  2. The workplace risk evaluation and determination must have been completed within 60 days of the law going into effect (March 4, 2024)
  3. The workplace violence prevention program must be completed within 75 days of the law going into effect (March 19, 2024)
  4. Employers must be in full compliance with the regulations within 120 days of the law going into effect (May 3, 2024)

Highlights of the Requirements 

Key components of the Workplace Violence Prevention Program include: 

  • A risk evaluation that must thoroughly evaluate the school environment(s) to identify potential workplace violence hazards. 
  • A written workplace violence prevention program which includes: 
    • Risk identification and mitigation procedures 
    • Reporting systems for incidents, aggressive behavior, and threats 
    • Investigations and response procedures for reported incidents 
  • Providing employees with comprehensive information and training on the workplace violence prevention program, as well as how to identify and report potential threats or incidents. 
  • Documenting workplace violence incidents and maintaining those records. 
  • Annually reviewing all workplace violence incidences with an authorized employee representative (if there is one) to determine what, if any, changes need to be made to the program or identified risk factors. 

Next Steps 

The New York Department of Labor has created an informational website that includes resources for public employers to assist with the implementation of the law. Covered employers should familiarize themselves with the law and the state’s resources. Immediate measures to comply with the law should already be underway; however, for those who have missed any compliance deadlines, it is recommended that they comply as soon as possible to ensure full compliance by May 3

Employers should also train staff on the program, reporting procedures, and identifying potential violence risks. 

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.