Workplace Assault: Does It Constitute a Premises Liability Claim?

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2020 | Premises Liability |

Your employer owes you a reasonably safe workspace free from hazards. For example, there can’t be unattended spills, dangerous machinery, electrical hazards, and so forth. But your employer also owes you some amount of protection from workplace assaults carried out by nefarious third parties or other employees.

If you are assaulted at work, then you might have a valid premises liability claim to file against your employer. It all depends on the circumstances of the assault.

Inadequate Workplace Security Claims

Each place of business owes employees, visitors, and patrons a certain degree of security when on their property. Failing to provide adequate security measures against predictable threats and criminal activities can put the liability on that property owner or employer.

Let’s put things into perspective by looking at a few examples of commonplace workplace security:

  • Security guards: An effective way to increase the security of a workplace is to hire security personnel to patrol the area throughout the day, after hours, or both. The presence of a security guard is inherently deterring to would-be thieves, assailants, and other criminals.
  • Entry-locked doors: Prohibiting people from opening doors throughout a workplace without the correct entry permissions can keep thieves and assailants out. Entry can be restricted by the use of keys, passcodes, keycards, and so forth.
  • Window bars: For many retail shops, window bars are an expected security measure to keep out burglars when the store is closed or unoccupied. Most retailers require staff to pull down window and door bars whenever outside of regular business hours.
  • Security cameras: The constant surveillance of a security camera does quite a lot to deter workplace crime. Setting up security cameras in key locations like entrances, exits, breakrooms, and other areas frequented by staff is a best practice.

The more likely a place of work will be targeted by criminal activity, the more security measures should be in place. For example, a bank has to assume that it could one day be targeted by robbers, so there should be ample security measures in place to protect the wellbeing of customers and employees alike. On the other hand, a small business like a pizza shop is not as attractive to thieves, and so fewer security measures might suffice.

Although, even small businesses have to be reasonable when providing security measures. By doing so, they reduce their own liability in the event that an employee is assaulted and injured while on-the-job.

Employer Negligence That Contributes to a Crime

There are also situations in which an employer’s negligence directly contributes to an assault being carried out against an employee. When this happens, it is much simpler for the employee to place liability on their employer in a premises liability lawsuit.

For example: Your employer discloses your work schedule to a customer without your knowledge. The customer returns when you are scheduled to clock in, waits outside the establishment, and assaults you when you arrive. Since your employer should have reasonably known not to disclose private information to a stranger and without your permission, they could be held financially liable for your damages.

Get to the Bottom of Your Workplace Assault Claim

There are many ways that a workplace assault claim can become complicated in a hurry. One such complication is workers’ compensation coverage. Your injuries suffered in a workplace assault could technically be covered through workers’ comp, which typically prohibits you from also filing an injury claim against your employer.

To figure out if you have a valid workplace assault claim, use the services of a trusted local law firm. Pratt Clay, LLC provides legal representation and counsel for people throughout Atlanta and who work in all types of industries. We can help you determine if a premises liability claim for inadequate security should be filed against your employer. Initial consultations are free, so call 404-566-9460 at any time.