My former boss smacked me in the mouth. Can I sue the company for not taking action?

I told my former manager’s boss’ boss,
because my manager and her boss are
so close. The boss above my boss and
her boss let my manager’s boss do the
investigation anyways. Nothing has
been done to rectify the situation, and I
quit my job for fear of retaliation. What
rights do I have? Can I sue the
company for not taking action against
my former boss for smacking me?

Asked on July 21, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your former boss committed assault and you can take legal action against them for that. However, an employer is not liable for the criminal acts of its employees (unless the employee is acting on behalf of the employer). Accordingly, your employer was not liable for your co-workers action; it is also not liable for its own failure to act since it had no duty to act. This is true unless not doing so would violate the terms of a union agreement or employment contract. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot sue your former employer for not taking action. They were not legally required to take action: your employer is not the police and is not the courts; they do not have to enforce the criminal law (e.g. against assult) and had no legal duty to take action. Since they had no duty to act, they are not liable for failing to do so.

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