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RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I was sitting in my chair @ my workbench, & my chair was

Customer Question

I was sitting in my chair @ my workbench, & my chair was swiveled sideways, as I was talking to a couple co-workers. Suddenly, without notice, my chair & I, were spun around, forward facing & shoved into my workbench. It was my Manager. He didn't say anything, but, something like "Ha!" & walked off. I was shocked, & embarrassed. My two co-workers couldn't believe it. One of them said, "That's assault". I told my Shop Steward about it afterward. They must've reported it to Security & HR dept. When I came to work next day, I found out my Manager, & two witness/ co-workers had already talked to HR. Then, security brought me to an HR meeting. They asked me to recount & reinact what happened to me by my Manager. I did so. Then they said "since he didn't put his hands on you, we can handle this through the HR dept.". " What are my options?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 11 months ago.

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I'm sorry to hear about what happened. Your manager doesn't actually have to put his hands on you to be guilty of an assault. Given the law in Oregon, this could potentially be considered a 4th degree assault. A person can be charged with this when if it’s believed that they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused physical injury to someone or caused injury with a deadly weapon through negligence. Physical injury doesn't have to be severe - a scratch, a bump, a bruise are all injuries. It's a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or up to a fine of $6,250. Though jail time is unlikely for a first offense, a person could still end up doing probation, which can mean community service, a fine, possibly something like an anger management class. So option 1 is you can handle it by filing a police report. Ultimately, the prosecutor's office would decide whether to file charges.

Option 2 is you handle it internally. I'm still trying to figure out what the motives of your manager were. Was this just a dumb joke and they weren't thinking? Or have they had it out for you? If it was a joke that didn't go off as planned, you can talk to HR, but I'd make clear what you expect as far as ramifications. An apology would be nice, for starters. But what else are they going to do to punish them - a suspension? A write up? And because I imagine this would make things awkward between you and your manager, can you be assigned another manager?

Option 3 is you ask HR to punish the manager at work but also make clear that you may still go to the police. They can't tell you not to. If you believe the matter warrants it, that is your right.

Option 4 - If you were injured, you should report that to HR so that a report can be written up and that if necessary, worker's compensation be started.

Option 5 - Do nothing. Tell HR that while you were completely taken aback by what happened and think it highly inappropriate in the workplace, provided that you get a sincere apology, you're prepared to let the matter go and consider it closed.

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