Is it legal for an employer to force me to work with a person who physically assaulted me?

My daughter was slapped in the face by a fellow male employee during work hours. As a result, she was forced to take a polygraph test to prove that her complaint was valid. She passed the test. The male employee was not subjected to taking the polygraph. She just received a call from her supervisor that she is to report to work tomorrow and she will be forced to work with the person that violated her.

There quite naturally is much more to this miscarriage of justice my opinion. What should she do? I’m desperate to protect my daughter.

Asked on May 12, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unless your daughter was attacked so as to make it negligent on her employer's part for not having separated her from this worker, legally it has no obligation to make them work in different areas (although it is seemingly unwise). The fact is that unless this action in some way violates the term of a union agreement or employment contract, it is perfectly permissable. A company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discriminaton). Regarding her not being paid, she can file a wage complaint with your state's department of labor. An employee is entitled to be compensated for all hours worked; it's the law.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal: an employer is not required to separate employees who may have problems with each other. It is unwise: since they are aware that the employee is violent and has specifically hit your daughter, IF (and we hope this does not happen) he injures her in the future, because it is negligent, or unreasonably careless, to not separate them or take other precautions, the employer could be liable for her injury. But that is only something they can be held accountable for after the fact, if there is an injury or attack; prospectively or on a forward looking basis, they don't have to take precautions, can keep them together, and can take the chance there will be another incident. 
If your daughter has not been paid for her work, she should contact the federal department of labor immediately: it is illegal to not pay employees for work, and the department of labor may be able to help your daughter get the wages she is owed.

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