34-1-7. Temporary restraining order and injunction by employer to prohibit further violence at employee's workplace
(a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) “Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose including following or stalking an employee to or from the place of work; entering the workplace of an employee; following an employee during hours of employment; telephone calls to an employee; and correspondence with an employee including, but not limited to, the use of the public or private mails, interoffice mail, facsimile, or computer e-mail.
(2) “Credible threat of violence” means a knowing and willful statement or course of conduct which would cause a reasonable person to believe that he or she is under threat of death or serious bodily injury, and which is intended to, and which actually causes, a person to believe that he or she is under threat of death or serious bodily injury, and which serves no legitimate purpose.
(3) “Employer” means any person or entity that employs one or more employees and shall include the State of Georgia and its political subdivisions and instrumentalities.
(4) “Unlawful violence” means assault, battery, or stalking, as prohibited by Code Section 16-5-20, 16-5-21, 16-5-23, 16-5-23.1, 16-5-24, 16-5-90, or 16-5-91, but shall not include lawful acts of self-defense or defense of others.
(b) Any employer whose employee has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from any individual, which can reasonably be construed to have been carried out at the employee’s workplace, may seek a temporary restraining order and an injunction on behalf of the employer prohibiting further unlawful violence or threats of violence by that individual at the employee’s workplace or while the employee is acting within the course and scope of employment with the employer. Nothing in this Code section shall be construed as authorizing a court to issue a temporary restraining order or injunction prohibiting speech or other activities that are protected by the Constitution of this state or the United States.
(c)(1) Except for proceedings involving a nonresident respondent, the superior court of the county where the respondent resides shall have jurisdiction over all proceedings under this Code section.
(2) For proceedings under this Code section involving a nonresident respondent, the superior court where the petitioner’s workplace is located shall have jurisdiction, where the act involving unlawful violence or a credible threat of unlawful violence meets the elements for personal jurisdiction provided for under paragraph (2) or (3) of Code Section 9-10-91.
(d) Upon filing a petition with the court for an injunction pursuant to this Code section, the petitioner may obtain a temporary restraining order if the petitioner also files an affidavit which, to the satisfaction of the court, shows reasonable proof that an employee has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence by the respondent and that great or irreparable harm shall result to an employee if such an injunction is not granted. The affidavit shall further show that the petitioner has conducted a reasonable investigation into the underlying facts which are the subject of the petition. A temporary restraining order granted under this Code section shall remain in effect, at the court’s discretion, for a period not to exceed 15 days, unless otherwise modified or terminated by the court.
(e) Within ten days of filing of the petition under this Code section or as soon as practical thereafter, but in no case later than 30 days after the filing of the petition, a hearing shall be held on the petition for the injunction. In the event a hearing cannot be scheduled within the county where the case is pending within the 30 day period, the same shall be scheduled and heard within any other county of the circuit. The respondent may file a response which explains, excuses, justifies, or denies the alleged unlawful violence or credible threat of violence or may file a cross-complaint under this Code section. At the hearing, the judge shall receive any testimony that is relevant and may make an independent inquiry. If the judge finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent engaged in unlawful violence or made a credible threat of violence, an injunction shall issue prohibiting further unlawful violence or threats of violence at the employee’s workplace or while the employee is acting within the course and scope of employment with the employer. An injunction issued pursuant to this Code section shall have a duration of not more than three years. At any time within the three months before the expiration of the injunction, the petitioner may apply for a renewal of the injunction by filing a new petition for an injunction pursuant to this Code section.
(f) Upon the filing of a petition for an injunction pursuant to this Code section, the respondent shall be personally served with a copy of the petition, temporary restraining order, if any, and notice of hearing on the petition.
(g) The court shall order the petitioner or the attorney for the petitioner to deliver a copy of each temporary restraining order or injunction, or modification or termination thereof, granted under this Code section, by the close of the business day on which the order was granted, to the law enforcement agencies within the court’s discretion as are requested by the petitioner. Each appropriate law enforcement agency shall make available information as to the existence and current status of these orders to law enforcement officers responding to the scene of reported unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence.
(h) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed as expanding, diminishing, altering, or modifying the duty, if any, of an employer to provide a safe workplace for employees and other persons.