What action should I take from here oif I was assaulted by a co-worker?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What action should I take from here oif I was assaulted by a co-worker?

Recently I was assaulted while at my place of employment. A guy snapped for practically no reason and punched me in the jaw. He has a known previous record. My boss did nothing but ask him about it the incident and he said he was sorry. I decided to press charges on him since no other action was taken. My family, on the other hand, thinks I should be taking some type of action against my boss because I’m not exactly comfortable walking past him with him being so unpredictable. I can’t exactly afford an attorney unless it is absolutely necessary and beneficial to my case. Just trying to figure out where I should go from this point.

Asked on November 6, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your employer is not liable unless they had *prior* indication that he was a threat generally (e.g. had attacked customers or coworkers previously) or to you specifically (e.g. he had made threats about you). Otherwise, the employer did not thing wrong: 1) they had no reason to try to protect you or take action against him, and therefore would not have been negligent, or unreasonably careless; and 2) an employer is not liable for the criminal actions (like assault) committed by their employees unless the criminal act was essentially part of or an extension of their jobs (e.g. a bar could be liable for its bar tenders or bouncers being too violent in ejecting patrons, if the employees were told that their priority was to get rid of toublesome customers)--but is very much not likely to be the case here.
You also can't proactively force your employer to get rid of the employee now, BUT if he attacks you again after the employer has notice of the existing assault, and that later attack is facilitated or made easier or more possible because the employer failed to take steps (like firing him, or switching him to a different department, shift, and/or location) after having knowledge of the threat he posed, then at that point, you may well be able to sue your employer.

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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