Excerpted from a Seyfarth Shaw LLP Blog by Julia Tape and Linda Schoonmaker

Workplace violence costs employers billions of dollars per year. The consequences impact morale and can lead to individuals leaving the workforce. Compared to other jobs, professionals in the healthcare industry experience higher rates of workplace violence. Recognizing this, the Texas legislature has mandated steps to be taken by healthcare facilities.

On May 15, 2023, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law S.B. 240, the Workplace Violence Prevention Act. Although the Act takes effect on September 1, 2023, facilities have until September 1, 2024, to comply. Under the Act, “Facilities” include home healthcare service providers, licensed hospitals and nursing facilities, ambulatory surgical centers, free standing emergency medical centers, and licensed mental hospitals.

The Act requires Facilities to establish a Workplace Violence Prevention Committee. To comply with the Act, a “Committee” must be composed of one registered nurse who provides care, one licensed physician, and one security employee.

In addition to developing a workplace violence prevention plan, Facilities must create policies and implement response protocols for incidents. To inform employees about the workplace violence policies, Facilities are required to have annual prevention training.

Along with the Workplace Violence Prevention Act, the Texas Legislature recently passed H.B. 915, the Reporting Workplace Violence Act, that requires employers to “post a notice to employees of the contact information for reporting instances of violence to the Texas Department of Safety,” and inform employees of the right to make an anonymous report.

Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

A Committee is responsible for developing a prevention plan. The Act requires a Committee to meet annually to evaluate the plan, and to report the results to the governing body of the facility.

Response Protocols

Healthcare employees should be encouraged to provide confidential information about incidents to the Committee. In the event of an incident, Facilities should establish post-incident services. Additionally, if a Facility is aware that a patient has a past history of workplace violence, a Facility must adjust patient care assignments to protect the provider who had the patient encounter.


Although employers have until September 1, 2024, to comply, taking action as soon as possible will enable Facilities to have time to establish a Committee to develop a prevention plan. If a facility has a pre-existing plan, the Committee should ensure it is compliant with the Act.

Policies should be clear about threats that will be considered workplace violence. Employers should go beyond the Act by establishing Zero Tolerance policies. By setting clear expectations, employers can create safer working conditions and increase morale.

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