Ask for a Restraining Order
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Filing a Request for a Restraining Order
The employer who is filing the restraining order request is called the “petitioner.” The person to be restrained is the “respondent.” To ask for a workplace violence restraining order, follow these steps:
STEP 1. Fill Out Your Court Forms and Prepare to File
STEP 2. File Your Court Forms With the Court
STEP 3. “Serve” Your Papers on the Respondent
STEP 4. Get Ready and Go to Your Court Hearing
STEP 5. After the Court Hearing
1. Read How Do I Get an Order to Prohibit Workplace Violence? (Form WV-100-INFO)
2. Fill out your restraining order forms
- Petition for Workplace Violence Restraining Orders (Form WV-100). This form tells the judge the facts of the petitioner’s (the employer’s) case and what orders the petitioner and employee want the court to make.
- Confidential CLETS Information (Form CLETS-001). This form does not get filed. It is confidential. It is used so that your restraining order can be entered into a statewide computer system that lets police know about your order.
- Items 1, 2 and 3 of the Notice of Court Hearing (Form WV-109). This form gives the parties in the case the date and time of the hearing.
- Temporary Restraining Order (CLETS-TWH) (Form WV-110). The judge may issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to give protection to the employee until the hearing happens. The judge can issue it with or without notice to the respondent.
- Civil Case Cover Sheet (Form CM-010)
You may also need these forms:
- Additional Page (Form MC-020) if you need more space to describe why you need the restraining order.
- Declaration (Form MC-030) or Attached Declaration (Form MC-031) if you are attaching witness statements. Keep in mind that if you are asking for orders based on information from your employee and others and not based on what you have personally observed, you must have each of those persons complete a declaration to attach to your Petition.
3. Fill out your court’s local forms (if any)
Ask your local court clerk if there are any local forms that you also have to file. Some courts also have forms on their website. Click to find your court’s website.
4. Have your forms reviewed before filing
If your court has a self-help center that helps people with workplace violence restraining orders, ask someone there to review your paperwork. They self-help center can make sure that you have filled out your forms correctly. They will only be able to help you if you do not have a lawyer and are representing yourself.
5. Make at least 3 copies of all your forms (except Form CLETS-001)
One copy will be for you, 1 for your employee, and 1 to serve on the respondent. If there are additional persons to be protected, you will need a copy to give to each person. The original is filed with the court.
Make only 2 copies of Form CLETS-001. This is a confidential form. Turn in the original to the court clerk and keep the copy for your records. Do NOT serve a copy on the respondent.
Once you have filled out all your forms, you have to file them with the court. 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. Take your forms to the court clerk
Give your papers to the court clerk. The clerk will file your Petition. To “file” means that the court clerk will make the forms an official part of the court’s record of your case. The clerk will keep the original for the court and give you the copies stamped “Filed.” The stamp proves that the originals have been filed. If you need more copies, you can make them yourself.
- You may have to pay a filing fee when you file your papers. If your Petition alleges (claims) that there has been violence or threats of violence or stalking of the employee, you probably will not have to pay a fee. In other cases, you may have to. If you have to pay the fee and you cannot afford it, you can ask for a fee waiver. For more information and help asking for a fee waiver.
- If you or the employee do not speak English well, ask the clerk for an interpreter for the hearing date. If a court interpreter is not available, bring someone to interpret. 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 or the employee are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or have another disability, ask for an interpreter or other accommodation. Get more information for persons with disabilities and a form to ask for an accommodation.
2. Find out if the judge issued the temporary restraining order (TRO)
After filing your Petition, the clerk will give all your forms to the judge, including the Temporary Restraining Order (Form WV-110). The judge will read your petition and declarations and decide whether or not to grant the Temporary Restraining Order (Form WV-110). Sometimes the judge will decide right away. The judge must decide by the next business day, but the process and exact time vary from court to court. Ask the clerk whether you should wait for the judge to decide, return later, or wait somewhere to be notified.
- Sometimes the judge wants to talk to you. Or the judge may want you to give more information in writing. If so, the clerk will tell you.
After the judge has decided whether to grant the temporary restraining order, look at your paperwork carefully to figure out:
- If the judge has denied or made any changes to the orders you asked for in your petition.
- When your court hearing is, which will be on the Notice of Court Hearing (Form WV-109). The court hearing is also the date your temporary restraining order ends. If you want to extend it because you have been unable to find the respondent and serve him or her with your papers, you must go to your hearing, ask that the hearing be postponed, and ask that the temporary restraining order be reissued until the new hearing date.
- Even if the judge denies your temporary restraining order or did not make all the temporary orders you asked for, you can still go to the court hearing and ask for those orders. The judge may grant them at the court hearing, even if he or she did not grant them as temporary orders before the hearing.
3. Distribute your copies of the Temporary Restraining Order and other documents
- Give 1 copy to the protected employee. He or she may need to show it to the police, so tell the employee to keep the Temporary Restraining Order where it can be found and presented quickly.
- Give copies to all other protected people.
- Keep another copy at the workplace, with security or someone in charge.
Restraining orders get entered into a special computer system at the California Department of Justice. That way, law enforcement officers across the state can find out about your order. The court will send your order to the state computer for you.
“Service” means that the other side must get copies of the papers that you filed with the court. In “service,” a third person (NOT you) is the one who actually delivers the paperwork to the other side. The person who does this is called the “server” or “process server.”
The server must:
- Be 18 or older, and
- Not be you, the employee, or any other person to be protected by the orders.
Until the respondent has been properly served, the judge cannot make any permanent orders. Remember, so far, there is only a temporary restraining order, which ends on the day of the court hearing. Read What is “Proof of Personal Service”? (Form WV-200-INFO) for more information about personal service.
In workplace violence cases, a law enforcement officer may be able to serve your restraining order papers for you for a fee. But if the temporary restraining order is based on stalking, violence, or credible threats of violence, law enforcement will serve your papers for free.
You can also hire a “process server,” which is a business you pay to deliver court forms. Look in the Yellow Pages of your phone book, under “Process Serving.”
To serve your papers, follow these steps:
1. Figure out WHEN you have to serve your papers by
You should serve the papers on the respondent as soon as possible, but not later than the deadline that the judge writes on your Notice of Court Hearing (Form WV-109). This is so that the respondent has a few days to respond to your papers and prepare for court.
To find your deadline for service:
- Look at your court date on page 1, item 4 on Form WV-109.
- Look at the number of days written in item 6 on Form WV-109.
- Subtract the number of days in item 6 from the court date. That is your deadline to serve your papers. (You can always serve before the deadline!)
2. Serve your papers on the Respondent
Have someone “serve” (give) the respondent a copy of the order and other papers you filed. The papers must be delivered in person. You cannot send them by mail. Make sure this is done before your deadline.
In addition to serving a copy of your papers, you must also serve a BLANK:
- Response to Petition for Workplace Violence Restraining Orders (Form WV-120), and
- Proof of Service of Response by Mail (Form WV-250).
3. File your proof of service
Have your server fill out a Proof of Personal Service (Form WV-200) and give it to you so you can file it with the court. This form tells the judge and law enforcement agencies that the respondent got a copy of your petition, notice of hearing, and temporary restraining order (if issued) and knows that you have filed the case. It is very important for your server to fill out the Proof of Service correctly.
- Make copies of the Proof of Service after the server gives it to you.
- Then, file the original and copies with the court clerk before your hearing. The clerk will keep the original and give you back the copies stamped “Filed.” Take a copy to your hearing.
Get Ready for Your Hearing
This section will tell you how to get ready for your hearing.
- Get your papers together. Bring the documents that help prove the violence, threats, stalking, or harassment. Take 2 copies of all your filed forms, including the Proof of Service and any other documents that you want the court to consider.
- Get your evidence together. Some of the things that can help your case may be:
- Medical or police reports;
- Damaged property;
- Threatening letters, e-mails, texts, or voicemail messages.
- You can bring witnesses with you to the hearing to help support your case. Your employee will need to attend and tell his or her story. If the employee is afraid, tell the court security officer when you arrive at court. Other 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. If you did not file a declaration attached to your petition, bring the original and several copies with you to the hearing.
- Take the Workplace Violence Restraining Order After Hearing (CLETS-WHO) (Form WV-130) to your court hearing. Try to fill out as much of the form as you can, but do not fill out the parts that deal with what the judge orders.
- If you or the employee 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, another 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. Ask the clerk if there is a children’s waiting room in the courthouse. If not, arrange for child care for your employee or any other witness who may need it.
Do not miss your hearing!
If you miss it, the temporary restraining order will end and you will have to start over from the beginning.
Get there 30 minutes early:
- Find the courtroom.
- When the courtroom opens, go in and tell the clerk or officer that you are present.
- If your employee is afraid of the respondent, tell the officer.
- Watch the other cases, if any, so 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.
Help your employee practice what to say:
- You can only testify to things that you personally have observed. If you saw the respondent commit acts of violence or threaten the employee at the workplace, you may describe what you saw. Otherwise, the employee or other witnesses must explain to the judge why protection is needed. It might be helpful for you and the employee to write down what you each want to say and practice saying it.
- If you get nervous at the hearing, just read from your paper. Use it to make sure that you tell the judge everything that is important to your case.
Go to your court hearing
When the judge asks you for your side of the story, stay calm, tell the truth, and 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.
During your hearing, the judge may ask questions.
- The respondent or his or her lawyer may also ask you or the employee questions.
- Give complete answers.
- If you do not understand a question, say so.
The respondent will be given a chance to tell his or her side of the story.
- If the respondent lies, wait until he or she finishes talking. Then ask for a chance to tell the judge the truth.
- Speak only to the judge. Do not talk to the respondent 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 express your anger against the respondent, 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 you all of the orders requested to protect the employee.
- Give you 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:
- The respondent needs more time to get a lawyer or prepare a 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, the judge will probably keep the order in effect until the new hearing date.
- Ask the clerk if there are any forms that you need so you can make sure that the temporary restraining order is extended 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 at the hearing, you will have to prepare a written order for the judge to sign using the Workplace Violence Restraining Order After Hearing (CLETS-WHO) (Form WV-130). In some courts, the clerk or other court staff will prepare this order. If so, review it very carefully to make sure it says exactly what the judge ordered and the clerk did not leave anything out. If there is a problem, tell the clerk right away.
If you have to fill out the order yourself, follow these steps:
1. Fill out the Workplace Violence Restraining Order After Hearing (CLETS-WHO) (Form WV-130), which will become your “permanent” restraining order.
- Make sure your Form WV-130 says what the judge has ordered and all the right boxes are checked. Review it to make sure you understand it.
2. Fill out a Confidential CLETS Information (Form CLETS-001) if you have not filled one out already.
This form does NOT get filed. It is confidential. It is used so that your restraining order can be entered into a statewide computer system that lets the police know about your order.
3. Give your Form WV-130, along with at least 3 copies (for the employee, you, and the person who will serve the respondent to the clerk (or the judge) and the judge will sign it. Make sure the clerk files it and that you get your copies back stamped “Filed.”
4. You must have someone (NOT you, the protected employee, or any other person protected by the order) serve the order on the respondent in person or by mail, depending on the following:
- If the restrained person was at the hearing, you do not have to legally serve him or her with a copy of Form WV-130. But it is a good idea to do it, and if you do, you can have him or her served with a copy of Form WV-130 by mail. Ask the server to complete the Proof of Service of Order After Hearing by Mail (Form WV-260) and give it back to you so you can file it. Tell the protected employee to keep a copy of it with his or her restraining order at all times.
- If the restrained person was not at the hearing, but the judge’s orders are the same as the temporary order, you can have him or her served with a copy of Form WV-130 by mail. Ask the server to complete the Proof of Service of Order After Hearing by Mail (Form WV-260) and give it back to you so you can file it. Tell the protected employee to keep a copy of it with his or her restraining order at all times.
- If the restrained person was not at the hearing, and the judge’s orders are different from the temporary order, you must have someone serve Form WV-130 in person, not by mail. Ask the server to complete the Proof of Personal Service (Form WV-200) and give it back to you so you can file it. Tell the protected employee to keep a copy of it with his or her restraining order at all times.
Remember, you, the protected employee, and other protected people CANNOT serve the orders.
5. Tell your employee to always keep a copy of the order close at hand so that he or she can show it to a law enforcement officer to enforce it.
Click for help finding a lawyer. Your court’s self-help center may also be able to help you ask for a protective order as long as you are not represented by a lawyer.
If you are the employer, you may want to share these resources with your employee so that he or she can get counseling, advice, and other help regarding the violence, harassment, or threats he or she is experiencing.
- Domestic Violence in the Workplace
This site from the Family Violence Prevention Fund includes information mostly directed at employers. It has information that can help victims understand their rights.
Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can help you in more than 100 languages. It is free and private.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline links you to the following resources in your community:
Social service programs
The website also provides a lot of information to help you get protection.
This site lists help by county, like:
Legal help with your restraining order
Victim witness assistance programs
Counseling services for victims of violence