What are my legal rights after being physically assaulted in the workplace?

UPDATED: Jun 15, 2011

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What are my legal rights after being physically assaulted in the workplace?

Today, I was assaulted by the president of the shop where I am employed. He through my radio at me, which I had to block from hitting my body with my arm. He did this, he told another employee, because “does not want us listening to music in the shop,” which he had not told anyone. I need to know what would be the best course of action at this point since I am currently debating if I can work for him anymore. I immediately reported the incident to human resources.

Asked on June 15, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you don't have as many rights or as much recourse as you might think. You can report him to the police if you like, since assault *is* a crime--and that's what this is: assault. You might also be able to get a protective order if you want, though that could make working there problematic. However, you can't really sue for damages, since you have not, from what you write, suffered any injuries or incurred medical expenses--and the civil legal system is designed to compensate for losses or injuries. With no injuries or out-of-pocket expenses or losses, there is effectively nothing to sue for. Furthermore, you president may choose to fire you (unless you have an employment contract to the contrary), or generally make working there very unpleasant--he can't hit you (again, that's a crime, and you can bring it to the police), but he can do anything non-criminal to make working there unpleasant.

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