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Know the Laws: Rhode Island

UPDATED October 26, 2016

Workplace Violence Restraining Orders

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If an employer, or his/her employee or "invitee" (guest, customer, etc.) is the victim of violence; received a threat of violence that can reasonably be interpreted as something that may be carried out at the worksite; or was stalked or harassed at the worksite, the employer can file for a workplace violence restraining order against the perpetrator.

back to topWho can file for a workplace violence restraining order?

A workplace violence restraining order is something that an employer could seek in court based on threats, violence or stalking against the employer, an employee (you), or against an "invitee" (someone invited into the worksite, such as a customer or guest).  Your employer could be eligible if you (the employee), your employer, and/or an "invitee": 

  • were the victim of violence (anywhere);
  • received a threat of violence that can reasonably be interpreted as a threat that may be carried out at the worksite; or
  • have been stalked or harassed at the worksite.*

A workplace violence restraining order could prohibit “further unlawful acts” by the abuser at the worksite.**  See How can a workplace violence restraining order help me? for more information about the protections that this order can offer.  

Note: Your employer must file for this type of restraining order on your behalf; you, as an employee, cannot file for it (although you may qualify for your own domestic violence restraining order, depending on your relationship to the abuser).  There does not need to be a personal relationship between the perpetrator and the victim for this workplace violence restraining order to be issued.  In other words, the perpetrator (abuser) could be anyone: a co-worker, customer, intimate partner, family member, etc.*

* RI Gen. Laws § 28-52-2(a)
** RI Gen. Laws § 28-52-2(b)

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back to topHow can a workplace violence restraining order help me?

A workplace violence restraining order could order the defendant:

  • not to visit, assault, bother, or otherwise interfere with you, the employer, the employer's operations of his/her business, other employees, or "invitees" (guests, customers, etc.) present at the worksite;
  • not to stalk, harass, or call you, the employer, other employees, or "invitees" at the worksite;
  • not to abuse or injure the employer, the employer's property, you, other employees, or "invitees" at the worksite; and
  • to do or not do anything else that the judge believes is necessary and appropriate.*

* RI Gen. Laws § 28-52-2(b)

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back to topWhat else can I do to stay safe?

You can visit our Staying Safe page for ways to increase your safety.  If you are being stalked or harassed, you can visit our Stalking/Cyberstalking page for more information.  You can also visit the Stalking Resource Center website for more information on stalking and harassment laws.  Aside from physical abuse and stalking, if you are being mentally or emotionally abused, you can contact a domestic violence organization in your area that is listed on our RI State and Local Programs.  They may be able to help you figure out your options and offer you support.  You may also qualify for a domestic violence restraining order, depending on your relationship to the abuser and the type of abuse you are suffering.

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