Can I sue my employer?

UPDATED: May 29, 2012

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Can I sue my employer?

I was assaulted at work by another employee; I work at an ice cream chain. I was hit twice in the face, spit on and called a faggot. I called the cops and they were charged with simple assault. After, I was told by the manager that I should not have called the cops. He then bailed them out of jail and kept them employed. Now he is offering me money to not continue with this complaint. What should I do? I’ve been trying to get a hold of somebody in a corparate office but I am having trouble finding them.

Asked on May 29, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, South Dakota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

IF this employee had a history of assaulting others or had previously threatened you and the employer had kept him on and that led to your assault, you could probably sue for negligent supervison.

Or if after this incident, the employee again attacks you after the employer clearly has notice of the threat he poses but did nothing to correct the situation or protect you, you could again likely sue for negligent supervision.

However, if this attack was a one-time thing, your employer would not be liable: an employer is not responsible for the criminal actions of its employees outside the scope of their employment (and attacking you was not part of this person's job description), unless there was some warning or notice that an attack or other criminal act was likely and, armed with said notice, the employer nonetheless failed to take reasonable steps to avoid the attack.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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