OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has defined workplace violence as “the threat of violence against workers. It can occur at or outside the workplace and can range from threats/verbal abuse to physical assaults and killings.” The US government has indicated that there are about 2 million workers who are victims of workplace violence each year nationally. Workplace violence can be sexual assault, physical assault, verbal assault, harassment, threats, and murders.
Workplace violence is ever increasing in the United States. After auto accidents, workplace violence is the second leading cause of work-related injury. More recently, workplace violence has been in the spotlight with the number of shootings in schools, at public officials such as Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, and at the Empire State Building. Many times issues arise with disgruntled employees who for a lack of better words have gone “postal.” However, pursuant to federal law, your boss is required to provide a safe working environment to their employees. Such things to take into consideration when speaking of workplace violence is the security measures in place and/or the emergency plan (if any).
An employer providing inadequate precautions and safety measures, as required by Federal Law, can lead to personal injury and even death. Examples of injuries and damages include psychological trauma, loss of wages, loss of future earning capacity, any other permanent injury, and death.
Florida is not exempt from workplace violence. In fact, Florida law, Florida Statute 768.096, require that employers conduct a background investigation of each employee in order to be exempt from liability. Unfortunately Florida law creates immunity against negligent hiring is an employer conducts a background check.
If you have been threatened or injured as a result of workplace violence, you must report and document you injuries with you human resources department. It is important that you place your employer on notice of the workplace violence because the law requires that they resolve the issue. It also serves as documentation should the violence escalate and continue.
It is important that if you or a loved one is a victim of workplace violence, you contact an experienced attorney such as South Florida attorney Jeffrey R. Davis. Contact Jeffrey R. Davis for a free consultation or more information regarding handling a workplace violence case.