If you are employed then your employer has a duty of care to keep you safe while you are at work. This includes from both accidents and assaults.
Assaults in this classification can be physical, verbal, or sexual assaults at work.
Therefore, if you have been the victim of any type of assault while you are at work then you may be able to file a claim against your employer, regardless of whether they were the one to assault you or not.
Most personal injury claims that are made relating to work are made are for accident at work claims such as construction accident claims, yet this should not put you off checking whether or not you are eligible to file for an assault at work claim as you are entitled to a safe working environment and should have to worry about being the victim of an assault while at work.
If you’ve been physically attacked at work
If you have been physically assaulted while at work then you may be able to claim compensation against not only your attacker but your employer too, if they are separate entities.
Your employer may be found to be responsible for your assault if they were aware that you were at potential risk from an assault and did not take the adequate steps to mitigate this risk. This includes:
- Forcing you to work alone or as part of an understaffed team
- Not providing you with adequate training or personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Ignoring a violent history of someone who you interact with while at work, whether it is another employee or a client
Depending on your job, some of these may be more important than others. For example, people who work in security or in care roles should be provided with correct training procedures to minimise the risk of being the victim of an assault.
People who work in these types of jobs and are injured due to an assault at work may initially only seek work injury compensation due to the nature of their job role. However, it does not matter what your job role is or what your responsibilities at work are, you are still entitled to a safe working environment provided to you by your employer.
What if I am assaulted by a customer at work?
The same right to a safe working environment applies if you are assaulted by a customer or another employee. Your employer is still expected to have taken all reasonable steps to keep you safe to prevent an assault on you by anyone, including customers.
Seeking compensation against your employer in this case, if they were at fault for your assault, is likely to be the better avenue for receiving adequate compensation as opposed to seeking compensation directly from your assailant.
This is because your employer will have liability insurance that covers them for compensation claims. A customer who attacks you will not have insurance to cover them for perpetrating assaults and therefore will likely not be able to afford to pay high amounts of compensation, especially not up front once the legal process has finished.
Have you been assaulted and lost your job?
If you have been assaulted at work and then lost your job for reasons that relate to your assault then you may either have further grounds to add to your compensation claim or you may be able to claim for unfair dismissal.
For example, if you were assaulted at work and then as a result of your injuries you could not work to the same standard as before and therefore could not keep your job then you will be able to add this loss of amenity to your general damages.
I was assaulted at work and they fired me, what should I do?
Your employer is not allowed to fire you for initiating a claim against them. So if you begin to file a personal injury claim as a result of you being assaulted at work and then you are fired, you can then also claim for unfair dismissal.
We also understand that, if you have been the victim of an assault at work, you may be hesitant to begin a claim in case it leads to your dismissal by your employer. However, we want to make it very clear that it is within your rights as an employee to seek compensation for injuries sustained at work, including assaults, regardless of whether they are physical or verbal.
I was threatened at work by my co-worker
Assault at work is defined by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as:
‘Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.’
Therefore, you can claim for assault at work even your assault was purely verbal and you were not physically attacked.
Unfortunately, we find that threatening verbal abuse often comes in the form of aggressive discriminatory language such as racist, sexist, or homophobic abuse.
Your employer’s responsibility to keep you safe at work includes from verbal assaults from co-workers and therefore you may be entitled to make a claim against your employer if they did not do all they could to prevent you receiving such abuse.
Being the victim of threatening language can often occur over a long period of time rather than a one-off occasion and may also have lasting effects. Making a stress claim may be necessary if you are left with any health problems as a result of working in a stressful or threatening environment.
How much compensation might I get for an assault at work?
No two assault at work claims are the same and therefore no two assault at work compensation pay-outs are the same either.
Your compensation will be based on general and special damages.
General damages will relate to your individual pain and suffering, as well as the loss of any amenities that have been a result of your assault.
Special damages are to pay for any specific financial losses that you have occurred as a result of your assault. This includes any money out of your pocket such as legal or medical bills.
To make a claim against your employer for assault at work, you will have to prove that they were responsible for your assault by not providing a safe working environment. It is important to gather as much evidence as possible to give you the best chance at being successful with your claim.
Our solicitors specialising in assault at work cases
At Brown Turner Ross, we are here to help you recover from any physical, mental, or emotional damages caused by an assault at work.
We understand that your workplace should be a safe environment and that being the victim of an assault at work can leave you feeling unsafe and at risk in the future.
Get in touch with our employment liability lawyers today so that we can support you during this difficult time of your life and help give you the financial security to overcome your assault.