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?

UPDATED: Sep 2, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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