Could I sue my boss

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Could I sue my boss

I was recently sexual assaulted at work and
when I told my district manager what happened
she did try to help. I explained how it
happened at work and it was a customer who
constantly came in everyday and would assault
me. She basically said if I want to press
charges I can and then said when is your next
day off. Basically the owner found out the next
day and took me to the police to press charges
on the customer. So I wanted to know since
manager didn’t give assistant and it happened
while at work on duty do I have a case. I
honestly don’t think I feel safe now seeing as
she let this go for so long she knew about the
assaults for at least a month.

Asked on October 11, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot sue your boss over this, though you may have a sexual harassment complaint against the company.
The reason you can't sue your boss is that no person has a legal duty or obligation to defend another from assault, whether sexual or otherwise: you are allowed to be a passive bystander to a criminal assault. Since there is no duty to intervene, there is no liability for failing to do so--you can't be sued for failing to do something you simply did not have to do.
However, an employer has an obligation to prevent the sexual harassment of its workers. If your boss, who acted on behalf of your company, was aware of the harassment or assault and allowed it to happen, his failure to act could potentially make the employer liable for violating the laws forbidding sexual discrimination (harassment or assault is considered a form of discrimination for this purpose). If you wish to explore this option--liability against the employer, not the boss personally--contact the federal EEOC or speak with a employment law attorney.

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 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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