If I was assaulted by my supervisorbut my employer wants to “stay out of it”, do I have to right to sue my employer?

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If I was assaulted by my supervisorbut my employer wants to “stay out of it”, do I have to right to sue my employer?

I was assaulted by my supervisor during an argument at work. I called the police and pressed charges on her, but my employer did not do anything. The next day I came to work and she was sitting at my desk and would not leave until she cussed me out. I then started receiving threaten phone calls at my home. I have kept my boss well aware of all of this but he won’t do anything to her because “she knows all of his passwords.” I do not feel safe and have stopped going to work. Do I have a good case against my employer?

Asked on October 4, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Utah

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You would not be able to sue your employer for the original assault, unless the employer had notice or warning that this supervisor was a threat either generally (e.g. she'd assaulted previous employees) or to you specifically (e.g. she had made threats against you). Without warning, an employer is not liable for the criminal act of an employee, since the criminal act is not part of employement and the employer has no reason to guard against that sort of illegal action.

You may be able to bring a legal action against your employer if they continue to allow the supervisor to harass you afterwards, however; now they are on notice, and therefore must take reasonable steps. Further you can sue the supervisor and also seek a protective order against her. You should consult with an attorney in detail about your situation and options. Good luck.


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