All too often, employers deal with threats of violence from disgruntled or recently terminated employees. The Illinois Workplace Violence Prevention Act became law on Jan. 1, 2014, and provides employers with a real opportunity to stop such threats. Unfortunately, the act seems to have slipped under the radar of many Illinois employers.

The Illinois Workplace Violence Prevention Act allows employers to obtain restraining orders against persons who carry out or threaten violence against their employees. Once a restraining order is obtained, the act requires the sheriff or other law enforcement officers to serve the order on the violent or threatening person as soon as possible. If the violent or threatening person violates the restraining order, he or she can be held in civil contempt.

Taft attorney Jeffrey Schieber obtained a restraining order under the act earlier this week for a firm client, presenting testimony from three employees. Cook County court personnel reported that it was just the second such restraining order they had handled, despite the act’s passage over a year ago. Illinois employers should keep in mind that they have this option to respond to threats to their employees and workplace.