FACT CHECK: Does California Bill Make It Illegal To Confront Or Fight Back Against Looters, Burglars, And Shoplifters?
A video shared on Instagram purports California Senate Bill 553 makes it illegal to confront or fight back against looters, burglars and shoplifters.
View this post on Instagram
The bill helps employees who have experienced violence to obtain a temporary restraining order and also requires employers to have a workplace violence prevention plan. California Democratic State Sen. Dave Cortese, who introduced the bill, denied the claim in an email to Check Your Fact.
Inventory loss as a result of retail crime in California has risen to almost $100 billion a year, the National Retail Federation estimates, according to the Insurance Journal. Both smaller thefts and more large-scale “heists” account for the level of inventory loss, the outlet reported.
“California Democrats have proposed Bill 553, which makes it ILLEGAL to confront or fight back against looters, burglars and shoplifters,” the video’s caption purports. The video, which appears to feature a screenshot of a tweet, further claims anyone who attempts to stop these crimes will allegedly be fined almost $20,000.
The claim is false. The bill helps employees who have experienced violence to obtain a temporary restraining order and also requires employers to have a workplace violence prevention plan. Employees would be able to seek temporary restraining orders via a collective bargaining representative, according to the bill. The collective bargaining representative or employer can also give the employee the option not to be named in the temporary restraining order.
In addition, the bill would require employers to keep a detailed log of workplace violence incidents and provide employees with workplace violence prevention training. (RELATED: Does A New Florida Law Require Fathers To Submit A DNA Test Before Signing A Birth Certificate?)
Furthermore, according to the Los Angeles Times, the bill removed a provision that “prohibited businesses from maintaining policies that require employees who are not dedicated safety personnel to confront active shooters or suspected shoplifters.”
Check Your Fact found no credible news reports suggesting the bill makes it illegal to confront or fight back against looters, burglars, and shoplifters, however.
Cortese, who introduced the bill, has not publicly commented on the claim, either.
The claim featured in the Instagram video originally stems from a Sept. 5 post made on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.
California Democrats have proposed Bill 553, which makes it ILLEGAL to confront or fight back against looters, burglars and shoplifters.
You’ll be fined nearly $20K if you attempt to stop these crimes.
It puts every business at the mercy of criminals.
This is totally INSANE! pic.twitter.com/a5nL0n0fFH
— Proud Elephant 🇺🇸🦅 (@ProudElephantUS) September 5, 2023
Cortese denied the claim made via the Instagram post in an email to Check Your Fact.
“SB 553 is a modest bill designed to assist both workers and their employers in preparing for, as well as preventing, incidents of workplace violence. This bill introduces violence as a potential type of workplace hazard to be avoided on the Cal/OSHA Injury Illness Prevention Plan, a plan already mandated by law,” Cortese said.
“SB 553 became the target of a misinformation campaign initiated by large corporations opposing any alterations to the IIPP. To eliminate any confusion regarding the bill’s purpose, and as part of a negotiation with Cal/OSHA, we removed all references to shoplifting. SB 553 never, in any form, prohibited employees from doing security work as predesignated by their employer, and never impeded personnel from doing their job. The bill also never, in any form, required the hiring of additional security,” he added.
Check Your Fact has also contacted multiple legal experts for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.