August 2022: Louisiana Governor Signs Legislation to Mitigate Workplace Violence Against Healthcare Workers Into Law

16 Aug

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Update Applicable to:
All employers with healthcare workers in the state of Louisiana.

What happened?
On June 15, 2022, Governor Edwards signed Act No. 461 and Act No. 129 into law, focusing on workplace violence in the healthcare industry.

What are the details?
Act No. 461
Act No. 461 creates new requirements for healthcare facilities to address, mitigate, and prevent violence against healthcare personnel. These requirements include:

  • Posting signage in a conspicuous and publicly accessible location at the facility explaining that violence against healthcare staff will not be tolerated and could result in a felony conviction;
  • Developing and maintaining a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan; and,
  • Reporting all instances of workplace violence that occur at the facility to the appropriate authorities. The law prohibits retaliation against employees who report instances of workplace violence. The act applies to regulated entities, which the legislation defines broadly and includes nearly all healthcare facilities in Louisiana.

Act No. 461 also instructs the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) to include information on its website regarding healthcare workplace violence. Specifically, the LDH’s website must include a listing of resources on the issue of healthcare workplace violence; actions healthcare facilities can take to prevent, respond to, and mitigate healthcare violence; a checklist of items that healthcare facilities should consider when developing a workplace violence prevention plan; and a downloadable example of the signage required to be displayed in healthcare facilities.

Under the new law, LDH recently launched a workplace violence prevention page on its website that includes a downloadable sample sign.

Act No. 129
Act No. 129 imposes enhanced penalties for the assault or battery of emergency room personnel, emergency services personnel, or healthcare professionals.

Under the new law, battery or assault of emergency room personnel, emergency services personnel, or a healthcare professional is a felony in Louisiana. Act No. 129 expands the prior definition of “healthcare professional” to include nearly all healthcare facility staff.

The law also creates a new criminal offense: the crime of unlawful disruption of the operation of a healthcare facility.

These two new laws went into effect on August 8, 2022.

For more information, please see the links below:

Act No. 461

Act No. 129

Workplace Violence Prevention Page

Article

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and ensure their practices comply with the new laws by:

  • developing a workplace violence prevention program;
  • implementing annual education and training on the facility’s workplace violence prevention program;
  • reviewing onboarding and interview documents to comply with the new law; and,
  • providing education and training on the new law for recruiters, managers, and supervisors.
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