Any act of physical violence, intimidation, harassment or other such behavior that occurs in your place of employment is regarded as workplace violence. Workplace violence may manifest itself in several ways that range from verbal threats to physical violence and even homicide.
Most acts of workplace violence are unexpected, and thus, no one is immune. However, some employees are more vulnerable than others. For example, employees who work late at night, employees handling the cash and other valuable goods of a business, and employees who work in high crime areas are all at increased risk of workplace violence.
There are also certain professions which are inherently vulnerable to violence. For police officers, bouncers, and security officers violence is a greater risk. Doctors and nurses are at risk of violence because they often treat individuals who are involved in criminal activity or are otherwise volatile. Even lawyers are at a risk of violence, particularly when they are representing someone in a criminal defense case involving violence, but also when they find themselves in the midst of the high stress and emotional situations of their clients. Workplace violence can also arise from fights between two employees, or aggressive customers.
Four Primary Types of Violence in the Workplace
There are four primary types of violence in the workplace. The first is violence that involves criminal intent. This kind of violence involves the intent on the part of the offender to commit a crime, such as a robbery or other situation where someone from outside of the business attacks, assaults, or kills an employee for criminal purposes.
The second form of workplace violence comes from customers or clients of the business. This might be an aggressive assault from a customer of a bar against the bartender, for example. The third form of workplace violence is that which occurs between two employees, who, for whatever reason, end up in some kind of heated dispute that escalates to violence. The fourth form of workplace violence involves personal relationships, in which to individuals have a relationship of some sort outside of the workplace, but the violence occurs at work.
What Can Employers Do to Prevent Workplace Violence in Atlanta?
No one should be subjected to violent acts at work. Employees expect their workplaces to be safe, and they should be, as much as possible. Their employers have a moral and legal responsibility towards all employees that they hire to ensure their safety and take necessary measures to prevent any harm from coming to them. This means that employers should make efforts towards encouraging a non-violent workplace. This can include instituting a zero tolerance policy towards violent and threatening behavior and ensuring that all employees are educated on the polices and conduct that is expected of them.
Employers can also help employees by training them in how to respond to customers who cross the line from disgruntled to dangerous. They can even ensure that their employees are taught self defense tactics or are guarded by security guards in high risk areas. It is also wise, in cases where violence or other criminal behavior is likely to occur, to install surveillance cameras, make sure that the area is well lit, and having alarm systems in place.
Will Workers’ Compensation Cover Workplace Violence Injuries?
The answer to this question is not a solid yes or no. Rather, it entirely depends on the situation and how the violence occurred. If the violence occurred within the scope of employment, then Atlanta workers’ compensation insurance coverage should provide medical and wage benefits to the injured worker. So, what counts as being in the scope of employment, and what doesn’t?
The best way to answer this is to provide some examples. If a police officer is injured by a violent offender, then this is within the scope of employment, and this should be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. The same is true for a security guard or a bouncer who is injured while engaged in their work-related responsibilities of protecting others. In the case of a medical nurse, being injured by a violent patient, this is also a work-related injury.
Then, there are the cases where the violence is not work-related, such as a situation where a fight breaks out between two co-workers or where a criminal causes harm to someone who happens to be working, but would have been harmed by the violence, regardless of whether or not they were working at the time. Situations in which violence is associated with personal relationships outside of work, but the violence occurs at work would also not be covered by workers’ compensation. As an example, imagine that someone has a dispute with his friend, outside of work, and that friend shows up at his workplace with the intent of committing a violent act. The worker is injured through violence, but this is not violence that occurred within the scope of his employment, and was, in fact, unrelated to his employment.
Were You the Victim of Violence in the Workplace in Atlanta, Georgia?
Injuries arising from workplace violence are more common than you might think. If you are attacked at your workplace or while carrying out the job assigned to you, you must inform your immediate supervisor right way. Make a written report of exactly what happened, how it happened, and what injuries resulted. Do not leave out any details, as the slightest variable could be a determining factor in your claim. If others were present at the time of the violence and injury, then you can record their statements and request their contact information. If there is any video footage of the incident from security cameras or anyone who might have filmed the violent exchange on a smartphone, for example, then this can also help your case.
You also need to seek medical treatment as soon as you discover injury. Even if your injuries seem minor, visit a doctor to make sure they are not more severe. Further, visiting a doctor and obtaining a record of being examined for your injuries will also support your claim. Even if you have nothing more than a black eye that can’t really be treated beyond pain medication, you will still have a medical record that indicates that the injury did in fact occur as you say it did.
If you are not sure if your workplace violence injuries are covered by workers’ compensation, or if you file a claim and it is denied, contact a determined workplace injury lawyer in Atlanta at the Bader Law Firm for a free consultation.