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  • Violence in Workplace - California

    Hi,

    My boyfriend is experiencing some violence in the workplace with a supervisor. He was in a room with two supervisors who were disciplining him for something he actually did not do (he has two witnesses who testified)... one of the supervisors came at him with a fist and lunged at him. My bf moved back and stated that he felt threatened and the conversation was over. As he went to open the door to exit the room, the one who just lunged at him, ran and put his body between my bf and the door and said, "You're not going anywhere."
    This same supervisor has a report on file from 3.5 years ago in which he had taken another employee by the shirt collar and shook him. Someone else told my bf that he had been slapped across the face by this guy, but never reported it for fear of his job and the fact that this guy is huge and is afraid he will get jumped after work in the parking garage.
    Are there any laws -federal or state- that prohibits acts of violence or threats? I can't imagine the law not helping out employees... can he sue the company? He's already been to the top of HR and they suggest he get counseling! They do not want to demote or fire this guy who has a HISTORY of violence! Please help!

  • #2
    Yes there are laws to address this, but not employment laws. It's called criminal law---assault, possible assault & battery (different states define it differently).

    He can press criminal charges against the assailant. It would be stupid and useless to try to sue the company.

    It is your boyfriend's right to file criminal charges agains the other person. If the employer then retaliates against him for exercising this right, then you're getting into employment laws.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by TSCompliance View Post
      Yes there are laws to address this, but not employment laws. It's called criminal law---assault, possible assault & battery (different states define it differently).

      He can press criminal charges against the assailant. It would be stupid and useless to try to sue the company.

      It is your boyfriend's right to file criminal charges agains the other person. If the employer then retaliates against him for exercising this right, then you're getting into employment laws.
      Since this guy does have a report on file for this behavior I believe the company can be sued for not protecting the the OP's b/f, or any person after the reported file, correct?
      Your options in the workplace are the three "L's"- Live with it, Lobby for change, or Leave. Screaming for an attorney will do no good most of the time.

      Comment


      • #4
        Not exactly.

        The company can face liability if something new happens. But they are not required by law to fire him; they're not liable just because the guy is still there if he doesn't do anything else.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

        Comment


        • #5
          The company can face liability if something new happens.
          Something new did happen. Assault with a fist and prevented the person from leaving a threatening situation-that can be seen as "false imprisonment" in some sort of way or something of a lesser charge. Maybe a lawyer can add legal terms of what that situation can be. Im certainly not one.
          But they are not required by law to fire him; they're not liable just because the guy is still there if he doesn't do anything else
          I didnt suggest they had to fire him. Just asked if the company would be a liability since there is a file and this guy did something else.
          This is why alot of companies would terminate anyone involved in physical altercations.
          Your options in the workplace are the three "L's"- Live with it, Lobby for change, or Leave. Screaming for an attorney will do no good most of the time.

          Comment


          • #6
            The term is negligent retention. It takes a lot more than two incidents 3.5 years apart to make a claim for it. If other incidents happen but aren't reported, there isn't a lot the company can do, nor are expected to do.
            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the replies...

              So, it sounds like in order to file a claim for negligent retention... more people would have complain and report this guy, right? Could these victims get together and make claims now or testify... or is it too late?

              Comment


              • #8
                No.

                File a police report first. Today. Have the supervisor arrested. Today.

                Then file internally to the company if you want.

                However, the negligent retention suit will have a lot more credibility if Billy Badbutt has been arrested for assault and/or battery.
                Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

                I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

                Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by LawBound2008 View Post
                  Thanks for the replies...

                  So, it sounds like in order to file a claim for negligent retention... more people would have complain and report this guy, right? Could these victims get together and make claims now or testify... or is it too late?
                  And I am sorry if I came off as brusk... but this statement sounds like you are more interested in sueing the company than in getting the supervisor arrested before he can hurt someone else.

                  People that see violence in terms of dollar signs hack me off.
                  Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

                  I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

                  Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    kah-ching!

                    That was what I had wanted to include in my first post here.

                    If you are assaulted, why is your first thought "who can I sue?"

                    It's really sad that some people would rather sue a company and try to cash-in, rather than press criminal charges and see justice done. "Oh but that means I won't get any money????"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Why Sue...

                      The goal is not to sue for money... it's to sue for a solution to this guy and to retract the counseling statement that by bf was wrongly given. It is also in the company's contract with its supervisors that they won't harass other employees or make a hostile work environment. I am also an employee for the same company, but at a different location (it's an airline) and we all sign a contract understanding the measures taken in different circumstances... in this case the person should be fired or demoted. The company is not following through. My bf has already tried to solve this through HR and that didn't do anything. They admitted that he had a bad history, but apparently don't care or don't care to see him as a liability. This company seriously SUCKS when it comes to employee relations. I tried to deal with the same HR lady about my previous manager who violated law after law from safety to paid time. A class action law suit is currently going on in the realm of paid time with this company. Things have gotten better with my station, but still... the company should be held liable for even a POTENTIALLY harmful work environment that's right there in front of them. It's really not about the money, but a useful solution to keep this guy away from my bf and all the other fellow employees who either have been harmed or will be in the end.
                      I know some of you are thinking... just quit. But what does that solve for other people who work there or who may not be aware of the situation until it is too late? What if all the plaintiffs of those landmark cases just walked away and said, "Oh, well." Don't assume that the only reason people sue is to receive money... many people sue for a resolution. And though it may take a lot to get a case to change a law, we've all see cases that have made a difference. And, though, it is just my opinion, I believe companies should be held accountable for the people they hire or at least those who have proven themselves unworthy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        In addition, my bf wasn't actually hit if that was unclear. The guy came at him like he was going to hit him and my bf STEPPED BACK. He then put himself in between my bf and the door. Surely, in the previous report on file it could be called assault because there was physical contact (the shaking by the collar). I'm really not sure about this one. It was indeed no less than a physical threat! I'm by no means a lawyer or have experience with police reports, but it seems it would be of more interest to the company than to the police. Wouldn't the police not care because no physical contact was made? Wouldn't it be a stronger case against retention than assault? I really don't know the definitions... it's been a while since I studied law and it didn't cover anything in depth.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TSCompliance View Post
                          That was what I had wanted to include in my first post here.

                          If you are assaulted, why is your first thought "who can I sue?"

                          It's really sad that some people would rather sue a company and try to cash-in, rather than press criminal charges and see justice done. "Oh but that means I won't get any money????"
                          Huh? Like you would decline an opportunity to cash in? If a person is assaulted there is some compensation deserved. In addition that compensation is justice.
                          Your on this board alot. You must experience/obseve how much unbelievable BS that so many people have to deal with to get a paycheck. So when opportunity arises to cash in it is sad to refuse?
                          I disagree.
                          Your options in the workplace are the three "L's"- Live with it, Lobby for change, or Leave. Screaming for an attorney will do no good most of the time.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My reaction would be to deal with the immediate criminal element first. Then, deal with the civil issue. In any case, it seems in a case such as this, the only possible civil case the OP would have would be against the perpetrator.

                            There was an incident 3.5 years ago. It was noted. Supposedly, the employee in question was dealt with in some manner (it is not up to the OP (well, the OP's fiancee) how that employee was dealt with. There has been nothing reported since then. It would be virtually impossible to show that the employer was liable.
                            HOOK 'EM HORNS!!!
                            How do you catch a very rare rabbit?
                            (unique up on him)
                            How do catch an ordinary rabbit?
                            (same way)

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                            • #15
                              Indeed, a person is entitled to criminal AND civil compensation i.e. jail time and money. This happens in many and probably most homicide cases. I've learned by just watching that in many cases whether criminal or other cases like divorce that one of the worst places to hit someone is in the wallet. People absolutely hate that. Money is one's wellbeing.... As much as we'd all like to think that money means next to nothing... it's America, baby... Here, it makes the world go 'round. It's how we eat, clothe, buy a house... it's why we bother to go to work.
                              But still, money is definitely not the object and I hadn't thought about it until after posting here. It doesn't solve this problem. Come to think of it, the very first semester in college I took a Business Law class and remember the professor stating that people sue for two things: money or a solution. Because money doesn't solve every problem. Like a neighbor's barking dog or the garage band down the street. Money doesn't really solve it. However, I do see your point "HateWorking."

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