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RGMacEsq
RGMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 11358
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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my 29 year old daughter works for a daycare/kindergarten and

Resolved Question:

my 29 year old daughter works for a daycare/kindergarten and there is a child that is abusing her and his classmates. She has brought it to the attention of the staff and owners and they basically told her to suck it up. What are her rights? She comes home with bruises from this child and they tell her there is nothing they can do. There must be something we can do to protect MY daughter in this hostile environment
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  RGMacEsq replied 3 years ago.

RGMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

Customer:

will there be an answer today?

RGMacEsq :

Ultimately there's not much that she can do, other than quit. This is the nature of a job working with kids, and although the school should do something, there's no requirement that they have to do something. When you talk about "hostile environment", the only thing that term is really applied to is the situation where there is either sexual or racial harassment or discrimination. It doesn't apply to actual, physical injury. Now if this were an adult, there could be the possibility of an assault and battery charge against this individual that is inflicting the wounds, etc... but since it is a child, unfortunately there's not much a court would be able to do, if your daughter were to bring this to court. The law in NH (and most states, for that matter) is very employer friendly. With limited exception, they can pretty much do what they want and run their business the way that they want. A court is not going to second guess them and say that they should have expelled this kid (even if they think that this is what should have happened).

RGMacEsq :

Sorry, I was writing that...

RGMacEsq :

Essentially, employment in NH is at-will. And what that means is that, essentially, it is a very employer friendly doctrine that in a sentence is: "if you don't like it, then leave." Again, this is subject to few exceptions, none of which apply here.

Customer:

can she call the police?

RGMacEsq :

On a kindergarten child?

Customer:

yes

Customer:

this child is 6 and huge

RGMacEsq :

Yes, she can. But I can almost guarantee you that there is nothing that the police will do.

RGMacEsq :

They will essentially say it's up to the employer to do something about it (expel the child, etc...) and that this is a civil matter.

RGMacEsq :

At a point where the child knows what they're doing (which is generally around 12-16 in most states), then a child can be held criminally liable and get sent to juvenile detention, etc...

Customer:

Can she bring suit against the parents of the child?

RGMacEsq :

But really before then, the police will not get involved in the situation like that.

RGMacEsq :

In terms of suing the parents of the child:

Customer:

yes

RGMacEsq :

Actually, no, this is not a possibility in New Hampshire. Interestingly enough, NH is only one of two states (NY being the other one) that does not allow a civil suit against the parents for the criminal behavior of a child. And even those states that do allow such a case, it is going to be in the situation where the child is old enough to understand and the parents knew or should have known about the propensity and did nothing to stop it.

RGMacEsq :

So even if this was in one of the 48 states that would allow such a suit, it would fail because of the age of the child.

Customer:

WOW

Customer:

We just want it to stop and I have no options

RGMacEsq :

I really wish that I could give you a magic bullet here, but the law is going to recognize that kids are kids, and that even a bully is not a criminal (at least when the bully is 6 years old, although he may just end up in juvenile detention someday).

RGMacEsq :

Now if it gets to the point where there are some significant injuries to your daughter, then she can sue her employer for failing to take corrective action and protect her, knowing about his propensity.

RGMacEsq :

But the thing about personal injury suits like that is that you have to show actual damages, and a bruise (although it hurts) is not the type of injury that personal injury suits really address, and a lawyer is not going to take that case on contingency (because of the low potential value of the case) but probably would take it on an hourly basis. That being said, if such a lawyer did this, the attorney fees would be more than any recovery.

Customer:

this child is injuring other children....what is the employers responsibility to the other children?

RGMacEsq :

Now there's also the possibility that the parents of these other children could bring a suit against the company, and also (potentially) a criminal action because of negligent endangerment, etc... But note that the parents have the standing to bring such a complaint because of their children. Standing is an issue in these cases, and generally speaking it has to be a guardian that brings them, not a teacher.

Customer:

so my daughter can report it to the parents of the injured children

RGMacEsq :

Yes. I think that she should let them know that they should be aware of this, and that any complaints should be made to the employer. This should be done only for the parents of the children that are being bullied by this child.

Customer:

Thank you for your help

RGMacEsq :

My pleasure. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please select the "accept" button. If you have already clicked "accept", or if you will in the future, please let me know so I can track these for my own reports and customer satisfaction stats. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

RGMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 11358
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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