Do I have a case to sue my employer for not providing a safe workplace?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Do I have a case to sue my employer for not providing a safe workplace?

I work in the Emergency Department, I was working in Care unit 4 on my computer when a co-worker came into the unit to bring a patient back. He started joking about how he was doing my job for me and went to get a personal belongings bag to put the patients stuff in. He playfully threw the bag at me. I thought he had left the care unit and I was sitting on the computer when he came behind me, and put a plastic bag over my head and pulled it from behind. I ripped the bag off my head completely freaked out and told David it was completely unacceptable and he had crossed the line completely. He walked out of the unit laughing even though I was clearly upset and freaked out. After my charge nurse had talked to him he texted me, did not apologize and said,

Asked on October 28, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't, for two reasons:
1) You can only sue for actual injuries you suffered or costs you incurred. However, you do not indicate any injuries or costs; hence there is nothing to sue for.
2) An employer is not liable for the criminal conduct--like assault, which is what this technically was--of its employees because that is not part of their jobs or what they are hired to do; it is outside their employment
You could, if you like, file a police report against this former colleague.

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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