What are my rights if I was punched by my foreman on the job and he is continuing to work and I was put on unpaid leave?

UPDATED: Nov 22, 2011

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What are my rights if I was punched by my foreman on the job and he is continuing to work and I was put on unpaid leave?

I work for a small construction business. I’d had an issue with my boss in the past concerning his threats to my job for not signing a paper that stated I’d be giving up a right to receive a check. I had also confronted the issue that he does not pay us for travel time. Last week, there was a “confrontation” over a trivial issue between my foreman and I when he knocked me out. What can I do?

Asked on November 22, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to think about what occurred and if what he did amounted to self-defense. If he felt that you were about to punch or assault or batter him, then what he did was considered or could be considered self-defense, which could explain the company's position of allowing him to continue to work. You need to figure out if he was given an opportunity to speak on the matter. If you were not given an opportunity to explain your side and no medical help was given, you are in an uphill battle. Did you seek medical help? Was an ambulance called? If the answer to these is yes, then the best bet is to hire a lawyer at this point. Make sure you have a copy of your company's handbook; most state violence is not tolerated. If so and he knocked you out, all of this evidence will help you in your case against him and the employer and the insurance companies of each. You will need to sue in this situation. If there were witnesses who would help bolster your case, make sure your lawyer immediately obtains their deposition.

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