If a fellow employee threatened and harassed me outside of work, is our employer obligated by law to allow me to transfer to another location?

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If a fellow employee threatened and harassed me outside of work, is our employer obligated by law to allow me to transfer to another location?

A fellow employee harassed and threatened me outside of work. I don’t feel safe working with them anymore. Because it did not happen inside of work, is my employer obligated by law to do something about it?

Asked on September 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, the employer is no obligated to transfer you to another location. However, if he does not do this, but he is aware of the situation (of the threat and harassment), and if you are then injured or attacked *at work* he could face liablity for "negligent supervision"--i.e. for not taking reasonable steps to avoid the injury. So while he does not have to do anything on a forward looking basis, if something happens at work due to a situation of which he is aware, he could be liable. If is therefore in your employer's interest to transfer you to avoid conflict, even if it is not, strictly speaking, required that the employer do this.

Have you considered actions not involving your employer? For example, depending on the extent, frequency, etc. of the harassment and threats, you may be able to get protective order against this person.


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