The Workplace Violence Restraining Order Act (“WVROA”) applies to any credible threat of violence in the workplace. The WVROA permits an employer to petition the Court for an injunction on behalf of an employee to prohibit violence or threats of violence if: (1) the employee has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from the person; and (2) the unlawful violence has been carried out at the employee’s place of work or the credible threat of violence can reasonably be construed to be carried out at the employee’s place of work by the person. Ind. Code§
34-26-6-6. “Credible threat of violence” means, “a knowing and willful statement or course of conduct that does not serve a legitimate purpose and that causes a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety or for the safety of the person’s immediate family.” Ind. Code§ 34-26-6-2. “Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, indicating a continuity of purpose, that includes the following: (1) Following or stalking an employee to or from the employee’s place of work; (2) Entering the employee’s place of work; (3) Following an employee during the employee’s hours of employment; (4) Making telephone calls to an employee during the employee’s hours of employment; or (5) Sending correspondence to an employee by means such as public or private mail, interoffice mail, fax, or electronic mail. Ind. Code§ 34-26-6-1. The WVROA gives specific definitions of what for the terms “unlawful violence,” “employee,” “employer.” Ind. Code § 34-26-6-3, 4, and 5.
If the judge finds “by clear and convincing evidence that the employee engaged in unlawful violence or made a credible threat of violence,” the judge can issue an injunction “prohibiting further unlawful violence or credible threats of violence.” Ind. Code § 34-26-6-8. However, the WVROA plainly states that the WVROA “does not apply to a case involving or growing out of a labor dispute covered by IC 22-6-1 [the Anti-Injunction Act]” Ind. Code § 34-26-6-0.5.
In Allen County, petitions for Workplace Violence Restraining Orders must be filed in the Civil Division of the Allen Superior Court. The WVROA gives further direction for how the complaint is to be filed, who may file it, the hearings the court conducts, the specific terms of relief that the court can and cannot order, effective dates for the orders, service of the petition and orders, etc. If the employer is a business (other than an individual), another statute requires the business to be represented at all times in the case (even when filing the petition) by an attorney. Ind. Code§ 34-9-1-1. The business’s lawyer will know how to prepare and file the petition. The Clerk of the Court will have the required petition form if the business is an individual. No law requires the employee to have an attorney represent him or her, but the employee is strongly encouraged to hire an attorney in this very serious legal matter.