If a co-worker assaulted me and was cited with a Class C misdemeanor, can my boss write me up for calling the police without contacting HR first and force me to continue working with this co-worker?

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If a co-worker assaulted me and was cited with a Class C misdemeanor, can my boss write me up for calling the police without contacting HR first and force me to continue working with this co-worker?

My co-worker physically assaulted me in the hospital pharmacy I work in. I told the pharmacist in charge who was slow to respond. I have PTSD from something completely unrelated. Feeling further threatened, I told hospital security, who then contacted police. The police interviewed us both, and she admitted to the assault. They cited her. My boss scolded me afterwards for calling security and the police. He said I should have contacted HR first and tried to make me sign a write-up that had the facts incorrectly stated. When I refused, we went round and round with him trying to pressure me to sign it. I scratched out what was false and wrote in what was true before signing it. My co-worker was written up, too, but I am still being forced to work with her. Is the way this situation was handled legal?

Asked on March 14, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, in an at will" employment relationship, a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. This includes the procedure to follow in a situation such as this. While you had the legal right to call the ploice, your employer had the legal right to discipline you for not first contacting your HR department. In fact, unless you have protection under the terms of a union agreement or employment contract, you can be disciplined (up to and including suspension/termination) for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. Accordingly, unless your treatment was due to some form of legally actionable discrimination, it was legal.


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