What to Do If You Have Been Assaulted at Work
In 2018, there were over 20,700 injuries due to violence at the workplace and over 450 fatalities as a result.
While we might think of work as a safe place to go to every day, the unfortunate reality is that conflicts do arise. And in those instances, injuries and even death can quickly result.
It's always a good idea to know what to do if you're assaulted at work. That way, you know how to take prompt action and get the compensation you deserve.
In this article, we'll discuss what to do in case of a workplace assault.
What Is Assault?
Before we get into what to do when you're assaulted at work, let's first define assault. By having a better understanding of this legal term, you can then make wiser decisions should you think, "I was assaulted at work."
Legally, an assault is where you are threatened or abused by another party. Most people think of assault as just physical attacks (which can be sexual in nature), but it can be so much more than that. For example, if you're verbally threatened because you're a minority, that also qualifies as an assault on you.
Your Employer's Duties
Every employer in the US has something called a "duty of care." This means they must provide a safe environment for their employees.
If you ever feel uncomfortable and reluctant to come into work because of a coworker or superior, your employer must take the proper steps to rectify the situation. Otherwise, you have the right to sue for civil damages, among other actions, especially if you're the victim of an assault in the workplace.
What to Do if You're Assaulted at Work
Now that you know what the legal definition of "assault" is, and what responsibilities your employer has, you have better knowledge as to whether or not events at the workplace qualify as actual assault. If you've been on the fence and now have confirmation, then you need to take immediate action.
Here are the steps to take if you've been assaulted while at work...
Call the Police Immediately
Ideally, you should call the police right after the assault happens. The longer you wait, the more unclear your memories will get, plus you risk going outside the statute of limitations in some cases.
Some assaults might seem so minor you might not even think of calling the police. But you should always do so! Calling the police helps in several ways.
For one, the assailant will see how serious the situation is and this might deter them from trying such an action again in the future.
Also, the police will file a report, which will be evidence that this assault happened. This report can be extremely beneficial if you decide to pursue compensation (more on this later), as their report will help you gather pieces of evidence that'll strengthen your case.
Lastly, some types of compensation require that you report assaults promptly. Otherwise, you won't be able to receive that help.
Report the Assault to Your Superior
Make sure your superior knows about the assault. This means that not only should you verbally tell them, but also get it on record through either email or a physical letter.
Insist that the assault is recorded in the Accident Book for your workplace. If the assault is documented and you've suffered mistreatment from your employer as a result, you can take further actions. These include whistleblowing or constructive dismissal claims.
Gather Evidence of the Assault
You'll want to gather as much evidence of the assault as possible. Do note that you should only do this if you're safe and only have minor injuries.
Sit down and write down all the details you can remember. Ask your coworkers to be your witnesses and have them do the same. If they've had similar assaults happen to them, have them document this too.
You can also take photos of the area, pull CCTV videos, and collect emails between you and the assailant prior to the attack.
Seek Medical Help
This step can be done after all the previous ones. The only exception is if you have serious wounds that need immediate medical help.
In that case, you should still call 911 first. Not only will this bring the police to the workplace for a report, but it'll also bring an ambulance for quick medical attention.
Otherwise, you should book an appointment with your doctor promptly. Even if you don't feel like your injuries are serious, it's a good idea to still see a doctor.
If you're seeking compensation, it's almost guaranteed that the court will want to see evidence of medical attention. If you waited a bit before seeing a physician, they might think your injuries aren't that bad and you're just trying to take advantage of your employer.
So it's always best to play it safe and make an appointment as soon as possible.
Hire an Assault Lawyer
It's possible to file claims for compensation on your own, but it can be quite difficult. This is especially true if you have no legal experience, plus you're suffering from both physical and emotional damage as a result of the assault.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to hire an assault lawyer. Submit all evidence to them and they'll be able to take care of the rest. They'll be your voice in court.
If You're Assaulted at Work, Take Prompt Action
If you get assaulted at work, you now know all the proper steps to take so you can recover from any injuries and trauma in the best ways possible.
Remember to gather evidence, get medical attention promptly, report the assault to your superior, and to hire an assault lawyer. By following all these steps, you'll have a load off of your shoulders and you'll be able to fully focus on your recovery.
For more helpful reads like this one on workplace assaults, please take a look at the rest of our blog now.