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Everyone’s workplace should be a safe and secure place to make a living for you and your family. Employers are required by law to maintain the highest standards of safety with regard to work-related accidents, but the workplace should also be as violence-free as possible. Unfortunately, as we see too often in news reports, many work environments are too dangerous and feature acts of violence, including one or more of the following:
Such acts can often leave employees with serious workplace injuries and, in some cases, workplace fatalities. And what many people who are victims of these acts often don’t realize is that it is the duty of every employer to create a workplace that is free from known and knowable dangers to their employees. The employer does actually have a duty to keep workers safe, but how is it possible to determine if they’re responsible for injuries?
One way to do that is to determine if the employer knew of the danger or should have known the danger was possible. While the person who commits the violent act is ultimately responsible, if the employer knew or should have known that the worker who committed the violent act was potentially dangerous and did not take sufficient precautions or security measures to stop them, a judge or jury may choose to find the employer legally responsible for the injuries, as well.
Some common ways to show employer negligence is to demonstrate that the employer had prior knowledge of specific threats or even past violent outbursts or other demonstrations of emotional instability. The ability to demonstrate those and to show that the employer was aware that security measures were insufficient, such as a poorly lit parking lot, a lack of security guards or easy access through unsecured doors to the workplace, can be enough to convince a judge or jury of a level of employer responsibility.
In some cases, employers can be found negligent for not doing things that can be seen as a breach of their duty employer care in the workplace. For example, they can be considered negligent if they failed to fire a worker who made a threat to a co-worker, which is always legal as long as it’s documented. In fact, it’s always a good idea to include rules against such behavior in the employee handbook.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of violence in your workplace, you should immediately contact the Houston workplace violence lawyers at Adame Garza LLP. Our attorneys can help you decide the next steps to take. In some cases, the workers’ compensation system is a good way to go, while other times, it may be necessary to file a claim in the court system. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.