We all have the right to feel safe while at work. Even those working on construction sites or oil rigs are protected by laws that force their employers to provide reasonably safe work environments. While we all know accidents can happen, one thing we should all feel certain of when we go to work is that no one will attack us. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. That begs the question, if you get assaulted while on the job, what are your rights?
Can the Employer Be Held Responsible?
Obviously, if you’re attacked by someone, that person must be held accountable. However, your mutual employer may also be forced to pay damages too, depending on what happened.
If you were exposed to foreseeable or predictable risk of personal injury by the company you work for, you may be able to hold them accountable and make a claim for workers’ compensation against their insurance policy. Likewise, if they did not protect you from such an incident properly, the same type of recourse may be an option.
Should the attack be in no way your employer’s fault, remember that you can still file charges against the assailant and potentially recover damages. Let’s take a look at some cases where the employer would be held accountable for violence against one of their workers.
Workers Who Are Alone
Workers who are working by themselves are particularly vulnerable to an attack. The same can sometimes go for those who aren’t alone, but are part of a shift that is understaffed. This is especially true for those working in already dangerous environments, such as security or prison guards. Anyone working with a population that may have a challenging demeanor is susceptible to violence if they don’t have others with them.
Ignoring Previous Instances
Sometimes an employee, customer, patient, etc. may have a history of violence the employer is aware of. Even if it’s just one instance, the company should take some kind of action to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
If they don’t, and a member of their staff ends up getting attacked by that individual, the employer can be held responsible.
Another, similar situation would be a place of business where robberies or other types of crime have become commonplace. Gas stations are, unfortunately, good examples of this in some neighborhoods. If you work there and wind up hurt, even psychologically traumatized, because of another robbery, you could definitely have a workers’ compensation claim on your hands.
Lack of Training
Those working in prisons, at certain hospitals, or in schools for troubled children are just some of the types of employees who need specific training for dealing with those they share space with everyday. If you’re attacked, it may have been possible that the right training would have helped to diffuse the situation before things got bad. Once again, you could have a claim.