On June 26, 2023, Cal/OSHA cited two San Mateo County employers—Terra Garden, Inc. and Concord Farms Inc.—for dozens of collective workplace safety violations related to a horrific incident of workplace violence that took the lives of seven agricultural workers earlier this year. In this article, our Fresno workers’ compensation attorney provides a more detailed overview of the Cal/OSHA citation and discusses the dangers of workplace violence.
Background: Seven People Killed in Tragic Workplace Shooting in Half Moon Bay in January 2023
On January 23, 2023, a tragic episode of workplace violence transpired in Half Moon Bay, California, when a shooting spree at two agricultural workplaces happened. The suspect, Chunli Zhao, 66, was an employee of both Terra Garden, Inc. and Concord Farms, Inc. Unfortunately, seven people were killed in the two incidents. Another person was shot and seriously injured. Mr. Zhao, who was arrested and charged following the offense, cited workplace grievances as his motivation for the horrible attack.
The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) has issued citations to California Terra Garden, Inc. and Concord Farms, Inc. following an investigation into the two shootings that occurred on January 23, 2023.
California Terra Garden received 22 citations, including five deemed serious, and faces proposed penalties totaling $113,800. Concord Farms received 19 citations, with three classified as serious, and faces proposed penalties of $51,770.
Both companies were cited for lacking comprehensive workplace safety plans, failing to evaluate and address workplace violence threats, inadequate training in workers’ native languages, and not obtaining labor camp permits for on-site worker housing.
Workplace violence is a growing—and highly alarming—issue that requires the proper attention from employers in California. The consequences of such violence are far-reaching. It is imperative for employers to establish comprehensive safety plans that include procedures for preventing, identifying, and responding to potential violent acts. Training programs must be developed and offered in languages that are accessible to all employees. Cal/OSHA has made it clear that employers must comply with regulations designed to ensure worker safety.
Any employee who has suffered harm due to workplace violence—whether it is committed by a customer, a co-worker, or any other party—has a legal right to file for workers’ compensation. It is imperative that workers hurt on the job are able to maximize their workers’ comp benefits, including medical treatment and wage replacement.
Joseph C. Yrulegui is a tenacious, experienced workers’ comp lawyer. If you have any questions about a workplace violence case, our team is ready to help. Contact us today to set up your strictly private, no-obligation initial consultation. We provide workers’ compensation representation to injured workers in Fresno and throughout the entire region, including in Hanford, Kingsburg, Mendota, Madera, Selma, Flower, Clovis, Reedley, Sanger, and Firebaugh.