Threats in the Workplace? An Ohio Organizational Protection Order May Be Right for You.
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Workplace violence, or threats of violence, unfortunately, reaches across all industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 there were 37,060 non-fatal injuries inflicted by someone in the workplace.1 Ohio businesses and organizations, including government entities, may be able to utilize an Organizational Protection Order (OPO) to provide protection from threatening conduct or workplace violence.

Similar to a civil protective order that might direct an individual to stay away from another person, an OPO allows an employer to seek temporary protection if two or more employees or members of the organization are victims of workplace violence or threats and the violence or threats are based on words or conduct directed at or identifying the organization.2 Examples of workplace violence or threats include:

  • An employee or former employee mentions the organization, business, or government entity while threatening current employees of the organization on social media.
  • An employee or former employee invokes the name of the organization, business, or government entity while threatening colleagues or former colleagues with physical violence, either in person or virtually.
  • A person names the organization and uses words or conduct to make threats to multiple employees.
  • A person mentions the name of the organization and uses a weapon to threaten physical harm to more than one employee.

The court will convene a hearing to hear evidence as to why the order should be granted and will determine the duration of the order. A copy of the order will then be sent to the person being restrained.

An OPO is only one method for employers to limit workplace violence and threats against their employees. Other means include implementing organization-wide policies that address threats and weapons in the workplace, training management on how to spot signs of potential violence in the workplace, and providing resources for employees experiencing mental health issues that could escalate if untreated (e.g., an Employee Assistance Program).

For more information about these workplace safety tools, please contact your Bricker Graydon Labor & Employment attorney.

*Mariam Ba is a Law Clerk and not licensed to practice law.

1 (visited Apr. 23, 2024).

2 R.C. 2903.215

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