Most employment contracts specifically state that conversations about controversial subjects are off limits as soon as you walk through the front door. That means no talking about religion or politics. But guess what? Disputes will occur regardless of whether or not controversial subjects are ignored. People argue. And unfortunately, people fight. What happens if a coworker assaults you on the job?
First and foremost, most states define assault as more of a threat. Battery occurs when there is unwanted physical contact. That’s why the crimes are often combined into a single charge: assault and battery. Together, they usually mean violence was involved in a confrontation. What that also means, though, is that you can take legal action even if you only felt threatened.
Not sure which next steps to take? An anonymous lawyer for ronaldfreemanlaw.com said, “Even if your employer wants to keep the police and courts out of it, it’s in your own best interests to find legal counsel. Almost always, it makes sense to call the police to make a report of what happened. Usually there are witnesses at work. Find out what they saw. And don’t worry. Your boss can’t retaliate or fire you for doing things the right way. If he does, it just means you get to sue.”
Were you physically injured during the confrontation? You should find a safe location — and speak with a supervisor about calling the police to report the violence. Ask a friend to photograph the scene of the crime and speak with others who may have seen what happened. You should also seek medical attention right away. A police report is normally required before you can seek compensation in these circumstances. And so are medical bills. Keep copies of any documents you receive.
When you return home, recollect the event as best you can, and then send an email or letter to your boss. Keep copies. This ensures that everything is on the record, and no one can deny an assault took place. You’ll also want to take pictures of any injuries. Keep a written journal of how you feel daily. Your pain and stress will make a difference during a potential injury claim.
Should the assault have been prevented? Submit a grievance to let your employers know why you believe this should never have happened. At the same time, make sure your employer has filed a RIDDOR report if you take more than seven days off from work due to the injury.
What else can you do? You can request additional staff or training. You can request a risk assessment. More likely, you will want to speak with a personal injury or criminal defense attorney (regardless of which side of the case you’re on). These individuals are trained to give legal advice to any relevant parties even if those parties don’t plan to retain their services. And you’ll want that advice before you decide on the next steps.