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Workplace Assaults

New York City Workplace Assault Attorneys

Workers’ Compensation for Victims of Workplace Assault

Assault in the workplace is generally compensable the same way accidents are as long as the assault was motivated by something job-related. In fact, even assaults that occur off of the employer’s premises may be compensable if they originate from a workplace conflict.

Whether an assault is compensable is often a very fact-specific question that requires the attention of experienced workers’ compensation attorneys. At Schotter Millican, LLP, our New York City workplace assault attorneys can review your case at no cost and inform you of your legal options.

We have extensive experience in workers’ compensation law and are known for handling highly complex cases other law firms won’t touch. We are proud of our long history of serving injured workers in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the surrounding communities. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you with your claim.

Contact us online or call (718) 550-0610 to schedule an appointment. Hablamos español; mowimy po polsku.

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What Is Workplace Violence?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.”

What Are the Different Types of Workplace Violence?

Workplace violence can take many forms and can be physically, emotionally or psychologically damaging. These different forms of violence include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical violence: physically attacking another person or physically threatening another person with harm. Could include hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, throwing objects at someone, or using a weapon to threaten or hurt someone.
  • Verbal abuse: verbal threats of physical violence against someone, as well as insults and other forms of verbal aggression that are directed toward the victim on a repeated basis in order to humiliate and intimidate them.
  • Sexual assault/harassment: any unwanted sexual act committed against an employee without their consent that creates an intimidating work environment and can be physically harmful. This includes inappropriate comments about one’s body or clothing; touching in an unwanted manner; and making unwelcome advances towards another individual for sexual purposes.
  • Stalking: following someone around the workplace either physically or electronically (through email or social media) in order to observe them closely over time yet not directly interacting with them at all times during this period of observation; could also include sending threatening messages via text message/email/social media platforms as part of stalking behavior
  • Bullying: repeatedly subjecting employees to negative behavior such as belittling remarks, exclusion from meetings & activities, spreading false rumors about one’s performance/character, etc., in order to gain power and control over them.

If a worker has been physically attacked at work, they may qualify for workers' compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages as a result of the attack. In addition to compensating injured workers, workers' compensation also helps protect employers from potential liability due to workplace assaults. It is important for employees to know their rights in order to ensure that they are fully compensated if they experience any type of workplace assault.

How Common Is Workplace Assault?

Shockingly, OSHA reports that workplace violence is the third-leading cause of fatal work-related injuries in the U.S. In 2019, more than 700 workers died in the U.S. as a result of an intentional injury inflicted by another person. Sadly, because many instances of workplace violence and assault go unreported, the real number of workers injured or killed due to workplace violence each year is likely higher.

Who Is Most at Risk of Workplace Violence?

Workers across all industries face the threat of workplace violence and assault. However, certain factors increase the likelihood that an employee will become the victim of a work-related assault.

According to OSHA, these factors include:

  • Exchanging money with customers/the public
  • Working with unpredictable and/or volatile individuals
  • Serving or providing alcohol to patrons
  • Working in an establishment that serves or provides alcohol
  • Isolated working environments or working alone
  • Working in an area with high crime rates
  • Working at night

OSHA has also identified certain types of workers who may be more at risk of workplace violence, based on these factors, including but not limited to:

  • Point-of-service salespeople
  • Money handlers
  • Service industry professionals
  • Customer service agents
  • Delivery drivers
  • Healthcare workers
  • Airline workers
  • Law enforcement officers
  • First responders
  • Public service professionals

While these workers may be at a greater risk of workplace assault, anyone can be injured due to the intentional wrongful acts of another.

How Can Workplace Assault Be Prevented?

There are many steps employers (and employees) can take to prevent workplace violence and assault. Employers should enact a zero-tolerance policy for any type of workplace violence.

This includes acts of violence and assault by coworkers, supervisors, contractors, suppliers, customers, clients, patients, visitors, maintenance crews, and any other person who comes into contact with the workplace’s personnel. Strict anti-violence policies can help limit instances of workplace assault, as well as provide proper guidelines for disciplining employees who violate company policy and/or taking action against others who intentionally harm workers.

Employers can also install adequate security measures—such as security cameras, security guards, and lights—to help keep workers safe. Unfortunately, these measures do not always ensure that employees will not become victims of workplace or work-related violence.

What Should You Do If You're Assaulted at Work?

Workplace assault is a serious and distressing situation that no one should have to endure. If you find yourself in a situation where you have been assaulted at work, it's crucial to take immediate action to ensure your safety, well-being, and to seek justice. Here are steps you should consider taking:

  • Prioritize Your Safety: Your immediate safety is paramount. If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or your local emergency services number. If you can do so safely, remove yourself from the situation to a secure location.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Whether the assault resulted in physical injuries or not, it's essential to seek medical attention. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and a medical examination can help document your condition. This can be crucial for any legal or workers' compensation claims.
  • Report the Incident: As soon as possible, report the assault to your supervisor or HR department. Be as specific and detailed as possible when describing the incident, including the date, time, location, and the individuals involved. If you feel uncomfortable reporting to your immediate supervisor due to their involvement or any other reason, report it to someone higher up in the organization or your company's HR department.
  • Document the Incident: Maintain a detailed record of the assault. This may include writing down your account of the incident, collecting any evidence, such as photographs, text messages, or witness statements, and keeping a log of any subsequent interactions related to the incident.
  • Preserve Evidence: If there is any physical evidence related to the assault, such as torn clothing or objects used during the incident, do not dispose of them. These could be essential in any legal proceedings.
  • Consult an Attorney: Depending on the severity of the assault and the response of your employer, it may be wise to consult with an attorney who specializes in employment law. They can provide guidance on your legal rights, potential claims, and help you navigate the legal process.
  • Seek Support: Dealing with a workplace assault can be emotionally and mentally challenging. Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist for emotional support. Many organizations also offer employee assistance programs that can provide counseling and support services.
  • File a Police Report: If you believe the assault was a criminal act, it's important to report it to the police. They can conduct an investigation and, if necessary, press charges against the perpetrator.
  • Follow Company Procedures: Comply with your company's internal procedures for addressing workplace assault. This may include cooperating with investigations and attending any necessary meetings or interviews.
  • Know Your Legal Rights: Familiarize yourself with your legal rights in your jurisdiction, such as workers' compensation, victims' compensation, and anti-discrimination laws. Your attorney can help you understand how these laws apply to your situation.

Can You Receive Workers’ Compensation After a Work-Related Assault?

Whether an assault occurs at the workplace or outside of work due to job-related conflicts, the injured employee may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured to the point of needing medical treatment and/or being unable to work. For an instance of workplace violence to be compensable under the state’s workers’ compensation laws, the employee will need to prove that the assault was somehow work-related.

Our New York City workplace assault lawyers can help you determine whether you have a case during a complimentary consultation. We strive to provide injured workers with the information they need to protect themselves. Even if you choose not to work with our firm, we want to make sure that you know your rights so that you can make empowered decisions moving forward.

If you are eligible, you can receive the following workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace assault or similar act of workplace violence:

  • Medical Benefits: Workers’ compensation pays for all medical expenses deemed “necessary and reasonable” following a work-related injury. This includes hospital and ambulance fees, prescription medication costs, surgery, rehabilitation, post-op treatment, aftercare, and more.
  • Temporary Disability: Workers who are unable to return to work due to their injuries can receive wage replacement for temporary partial or total disability in the amount of 2/3 their average weekly wage.
  • Permanent Disability: When an injury leaves a worker permanently unable to return to work, whether at their old job or a new one, they could qualify for permanent partial or total disability benefits under the New York workers’ compensation system.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation: In some cases, injured workers may qualify for vocational rehabilitation benefits. These benefits help with costs related to job retraining, education, and reentry into the workforce.
  • Death Benefits: Surviving spouses, partners, children, and other family members may be eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits when their loved one dies due to a work-related accident or injury, including those resulting from workplace violence.

Fighting for workers' compensation can seem like a very complicated process, but it doesn't have to be! When you work with a skilled lawyer, like those at Schotter Millican, the process can be far less challenging. We encourage you to reach out to our firm right away if you were injured or if your loved one tragically died due to workplace violence.

Workplace Harassment

Harassment is considered a form of violence, and it's illegal. In the workplace, it may take the form of personal insults, jokes, or incidents involving intolerance or disgust toward a protected class. Under federal law, these classes include race, age, sex, religion, national origin, color, or disability.

These are three common forms of workplace harassment:

  • Verbal/Written - Email is frequently abused form of communication. Fortunately, it tends to be the easiest form to keep record of. Verbal harassment, on the other hand, while possibly much more common, is quite a bit more difficult to prove.
  • Visual - Subjecting someone to violent, derogatory, or sexual images is another form of harassment. This one can be more subjective, because while the intention may be humorous, some hostility may also lay behind it.
  • Physical - Touching and physical intimidation (for example, standing too close to someone with the intent to scare them) are unacceptable in the workplace.

Protecting Your Rights Throughout the Legal Process

If you were injured at work or in a work-related incident, it is important that you report the injury to your employer within 30 days. Time is critical in these cases, so do not delay. You should also seek immediate medical attention and follow all of your doctor’s recommendations after the incident.

Your employer will likely order an independent medical examination (IME) to confirm your injuries. These examinations are anything but “independent.” In fact, IMEs are often used to justify insurance companies’ denials of rightful workers’ compensation claims. At Schotter Millican, we have a team of professional videographers on staff who accompany our clients at their IMEs to ensure workers’ compensation doctors remain honest. We offer this service at no additional cost to our clients simply because we believe in protecting workers’ rights.

Our NYC Workplace Assault Lawyers Are Ready to Help

Going through a traumatic event like a workplace assault can be emotionally challenging. Having a lawyer who understands the legal process and can provide support and guidance can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety associated with your situation.

If you need help filing a workers’ compensation claim after a workplace assault or similar act of work-related violence, get in touch with Schotter Millican right away. We can inform you of your legal rights and options during a complimentary case review.

Call (718) 550-0610 or submit a free online case evaluation to learn more about how our NYC workplace assault lawyers can help you. 

Why Choose Schotter Millican, LLP?

  • We'll Be Your Resource
    Workers' Compensation can be confusing, but we're here to make sure you have everything you need.
  • When Others Quit, We Persist
    We'll push farther for our clients - when other firms may throw in the towel, we'll dig in deeper.
  • Activism Backed With Heart
    We have been involved in worker activism for decades, and we care deeply about you and your case.
  • We're Used to Winning
    Our attorneys have a long history of large appellate wins, so you can feel confident in our experience.
  • Videography Training for IME

    You will be trained by us to know how to videotape the independent medical examinations (IME) to protect your rights.

  • We Take Complex Cases
    We're not afraid of a challenge, and we'll use our experience to win even the most complicated cases.

Contact Schotter Millican, LLP Today!

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