Liability for Workplace Violence in Georgia
Work can be stressful enough without having to manage the possibility of violent outbursts and injuries while on the job. Sadly, however, workplace violence is becoming a growing problem in the United States, and is defined as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” If you have been a victim of this behavior, call an attorney to help determine liability for workplace violence in Georgia.
Under the guidelines set forth by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the term includes both physical assaults and verbal threats of harm – and encompasses anything from a simple assault to homicide.
Homicide is the fourth highest cause of workplace fatality, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. No matter the severity of the attack or threat, workplace violence is never acceptable, and there are a number of civil options available to combat this misconduct alongside criminal penalties.
Types of workplace violence
Homicide is, of course, the severest form of workplace violence, accounting for 403 deaths in 2014. However, assaultive conduct – including sexual assault – is far more common, and more likely to go unreported.
The following presents a snapshot of some of the more prevalent instances of workplace violence across certain select employment sectors, and is by no means a comprehensive list of potential scenarios:
Violence against healthcare workers perpetrated by patients can often occur when patients are under the influence or experiencing diminished mental capacity.
While a certain degree of violence is part of the job description, law enforcement officers are not necessarily required to endure all forms of assault, and may be able to seek compensation in the event of employer negligence.
Food delivery service:
Those working in food delivery are especially vulnerable to robbery and assault, and employers have a duty to protect them from foreseeable harm.
Sexual assault in the hospitality industry is common, especially when alcohol is involved.
Retailers are prone to robbery and assault, especially if known to have large sums of cash on hand.
When it comes to workplace violence, incidents can occur between two employees, or between an employee and an outsider (e.g., a customer, client, or offender). Regardless of the scenario, setting, or status of the involved parties, financial recovery may be available for the victim through a personal injury lawsuit with the help of a workplace violence attorney in Georgia.
Initiating a lawsuit
Workers’ compensation is but a starting point when it comes to recovering from workplace violence, and an individual lawsuit may be the best bet for anyone enduring the aftermath of such a harrowing experience. If the facts tend to show that the employer had actual knowledge of the likelihood of violence or the likelihood of violence was reasonably foreseeable, that employer could be liable to any employee injured at the hands of a co-worker or third party.
For example, if an employee is injured during an armed robbery and the employer failed to implement adequate security features to prevent against such incidents, this could give rise to finding the employer liable. Likewise, if an employer fails to conduct adequate background checks and hires an employee with a clear pattern of violence and assaultive conduct, the employer could be liable for any subsequent assaults perpetrated against a co-worker, customer, or client.
Contact the Law Offices of John Morrison today.
If you recently experienced workplace violence and would like to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney in Georgia, please contact the Law Offices of John Morrison today at 770-951-8900.