Respond to a Restraining Order
This section helps you respond to a request for a workplace violence restraining order. Read the introduction in the Workplace Violence section
to get more information about workplace violence restraining orders and the restraining order court process.
What Is a Workplace Violence Restraining Order?
A workplace violence restraining order is a court order that helps protect an employee from stalking, violence, or threats of violence at the person’s place of employment. It must be requested by the employer, who asks the court to issue an order that will protect the employee from someone who is committing violence, stalking, or threatening the employee.
A workplace violence restraining order can order you to:
- Not contact or go near the protected person;
- Stay away from the protected person’s home, work, school, or his or her children’s schools;
- Not contact and stay away from other family and household members of the protected person and other employees; and
- Not have a gun or firearm while the order is in effect.
If There Is a Restraining Order Against You
1. Read the order carefully. If you disobey the order, you can go to jail or be fined.
Make sure you stay away from all the people and places in the order. You CANNOT own, possess, buy or try to buy a gun or firearm while the order is in effect. If you have a gun now, you have to turn it in to the police or sell it to (or store it with) a licensed gun dealer. Read How Do I Turn in, Sell, or Store My Firearms? (Form WV-800-INFO).
2. Go to the court hearing on the restraining order. The hearing date is on the Notice of Court Hearing (Form WV-109).
If you do not go to court, the judge can make the restraining order without hearing your side of the story. And the order can last up to 3 years.
3. If you want to tell your side of the story, file a response (answer) BEFORE your court date.
- You can fill out and file a Response to Petition for Workplace Violence Restraining Orders (Form WV-120) where you tell the judge your side of the story about what happened. Read the section "Responding to the Restraining Order Request" for instructions on filing a response.
- Even if you do not file an answer, GO TO YOUR HEARING!
You do not need a lawyer to respond to a restraining order. BUT it is a good idea to have a lawyer. Having a restraining order issued against you can have very serious consequences, so by having a lawyer you can protect your rights as best as possible. Click for help finding a lawyer.
Your court’s self-help center may also be able to help you respond to the restraining order.
- IMPORTANT! If you also have a criminal case related to the abuse, stalking, or violence in this case, it is very important you talk to a lawyer. Anything you say or write in the workplace violence restraining order case can be used against you in your criminal case.
Responding to the Restraining Order Request
If you decide to answer the request for the restraining order, follow these steps:
STEP 1. Fill Out Your Court Forms and Prepare to File
STEP 2. File and Serve Your Response
STEP 3. Get Ready and Go to Your Court Hearing
STEP 4. After the Court Hearing
1. Read How Can I Respond to a Petition for Workplace Violence Restraining Orders? (Form WV-120-INFO).
2. Fill out your response (answer) and other forms:
- Response to Petition for Workplace Violence Restraining Orders (Form WV-120)
- Additional Page (Form MC-020), if you need more space to write any of your answers.
- Declaration (Form MC-030) or Attached Declaration (Form MC-031) for any statements of witnesses that will support your side of the story.
3. Fill out your court’s local forms (if any)
Ask your local court clerk if there are local forms you have to fill out. Some courts also have forms on their website. Find your local court’s website.
4. Have your forms reviewed before filing
If your court’s self-help center helps people with workplace violence restraining orders, ask them to review your paperwork. They can make sure you filled out your forms correctly.
5. Make at least 2 copies of all of your forms
One copy will be for you and 1 will be served on the employer. The original is for the court.
Once you have filled out all your forms, you have to file them with the court and “serve” (give a copy to) the employer. You must do this at least 2 days before your court hearing. Keep in mind that procedures for filing papers for restraining orders vary from court to court, so check with the court clerk for the procedure in your court. In general, you have to follow these steps:
1. File your Response in court
Take the original and 2 copies of your form to the court clerk to file. The clerk will file the originals and return all of your copies to you stamped “Filed” in the box in the upper right corner. To “file” means that the court clerk will make the forms an official part of the court’s record of your case. If you need more copies, you can make them yourself.
- If the employer claims in the Petition that you committed or threatened acts of violence against the employee, made the employee afraid of violence, or stalked the employee, you will not have to pay a filing fee. Otherwise, the court may charge you a filing fee. If you cannot afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver. Find information to help you ask for a fee waiver.
- If you do not speak English well, ask the clerk for an interpreter for your hearing date. If a court interpreter is not available, bring someone to interpret for you. Do not ask a child, a protected person, or a witness to interpret. Get tips to help you work with a court interpreter.
- If you are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or have another disability, ask for an interpreter or other accommodation. For more information for persons with disabilities and a form to ask for an accommodation.
2. Serve the employer with a copy of your forms
Get someone 18 or older (NOT YOU) to mail a copy of your Response and any other forms to the employer at least 2 days before the court hearing. The person who does this is called the “server” or “process server.”
3. File your proof of service
Have your server fill out a Proof of Service of Response by Mail (Form WV-250) and give it to you. Then, file it with the court or bring it with you to the hearing. Keep a copy for yourself. This form tells the judge that the employer got a copy of your Response.
If you are unable to file and serve your forms before the hearing, bring them with you to the hearing anyway.
Get Ready for Your Hearing
This section will tell you how to get ready for your hearing.
- Get your papers together. If you did not already file your forms with the court, take the original and 2 copies of each form, including the Proof of Service, with you to the hearing. If there are any other documents that help your case (trying to disprove what you are accused of), take those with you.
- Get your evidence together. You can bring witnesses with you to the hearing to help support your case. Witnesses may or may not be allowed to speak. But you can bring a witness’s written statement (declaration) of what he or she saw or heard. You can use a Declaration (Form MC-030) for any statements of witnesses that support your side of the story. You should file and serve the witness statements at the same time that you file your Response (Form WV-120). If you did not have time to file them ahead of time, then take the original plus 2 copies to your court hearing.
- If you do not speak English well, check to see if the court will be providing an interpreter at the hearing. If not, take someone (but not a child, a protected person, or a witness) with you to interpret for you. Get tips to help you work with a court interpreter.
- Most courtrooms do not allow children to attend hearings. If you have young children, ask the clerk if there is a children’s activity room in the courthouse. If not, arrange for child care.
Do not miss your hearing!
If you miss it, the judge can make the orders without hearing from you.
Get there early:
- Find the courtroom.When the courtroom opens, go in and tell the clerk or officer that you are present. If the employee who is seeking protection is present, do NOT sit near him or her or try to talk to him or her. Watch the other cases, if any, so that you will know what to do. When your name is called, go to the front of the courtroom. Your hearing may last just a few minutes or up to an hour.
Practice what you want to say in response to what the employer said about you in the Petition:
- Consider each order requested and decide whether you disagree with the order. If so, write down what you want to say and practice saying why you disagree.If you get nervous at the hearing, just read from your paper. Use it to make sure that you tell the judge about everything you disagree with.
Go to your court hearing
During your hearing, the judge may ask questions.
- Wait for your turn to speak. When the judge asks you for your side of the story, tell the truth. Speak slowly. You can read from your paper if you prefer.
- Try to be brief. If you ramble on about things that are not really relevant or important, it may affect your chances of winning.
- Do not use profanity or other inappropriate language. Stick to the facts.
- Stay calm. Any display of anger toward the employee will only make it appear that any fear of violence that he or she has is reasonable.
- The employer or his or her lawyer may also ask you questions.
- Give complete answers.
- If you do not understand a question, say so.
- If the other side lies in court, wait until he or she finishes talking. Then tell the judge the truth.
- Speak only to the judge. Do not talk to the employee unless the judge gives you a chance to ask him or her questions.
- If you are given an opportunity to ask questions, only ask questions. Do not take it as a chance to argue with or berate the employee or to repeat things that you have already said.
- When someone else is talking to the judge, wait for him or her to finish. Wait patiently for your turn to talk.
The judge’s decision
At the end of the hearing, the judge will say what the orders are. The judge may:
- Give the employer all of the orders requested to protect the employee.
- Give the employer some of the orders requested, but not others.
- Deny all orders requested.
- Postpone the decision and give you a new court date. This means you will have to come back another day. The judge can do this if:
- You need more time to get a lawyer or prepare your Response.
- The judge wants more information.
- Your hearing is taking longer than planned.
- If the judge postpones your case and a temporary restraining order was issued and served on you, the judge will probably keep the order in effect until the new hearing date.
See Going to Court to read more information about how to prepare for your court hearing.
If the judge issues a restraining order against you at the hearing, you MUST obey it. If you do not, you can be arrested.
In general, you will be served with the Workplace Violence Restraining Order After Hearing (CLETS-WHO) (Form WV-130) either immediately after the hearing or within a few days of your court date. If you were at the hearing, the petitioner does not have to legally send you a copy of the order, so get a copy from the court yourself. If anything on the order form is different from what the judge ordered, talk to the court clerk right away to see what you can do about it. If the clerk cannot help you, talk to a lawyer right away. Or talk to your court’s self-help center to see if there is anything that they can help you with.
If the judge issues a restraining order against you, you are not allowed to own, buy, or try to buy a firearm. If you own 1, you will have to sell it to, or store it with, a licensed firearms dealer or turn it in to law enforcement, and file proof with the court. To file this proof, you can use the form Proof of Firearms Turned In, Sold, or Stored (Form WV-800). For more information on what to do, read How Do I Turn in, Sell, or Store My Firearms? (Form WV-800-INFO).
Click for help finding a lawyer. Your court’s self-help center may also be able to help you respond to the restraining order request.
Batterer Intervention Program Information
You can find batterer intervention programs in your area at California Department of Public Health Violence Prevention Resource Directory which lists help by county.
If you need an “approved” batterer intervention program, contact your county probation department.