Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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Employers have a legal duty of care to protect their employees from undue harm and physical injury in the workplace. This includes taking reasonable actions to keep people with a known history of aggressive behavior off the premises and away from workers. Those actions include running criminal background checks, administering drug tests, checking references, and disciplining or firing workers who display aggressive behavior. When your employer doesn't take reasonable actions to protect you from workplace violence and you are injured, you may have the right to file a third-party lawsuit. This requires proving your employer failed to protect you, and the failure constituted gross negligence or a wanton disregard for your safety.
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Workers can file a complaint (https://www.osha.gov/workers/file_complaint.html) with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via ecomplaint form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by a worker are more likely to result in an inspection. For other worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit the OSHA website (https://www.osha.gov/workers/index.html).
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