When you go to work, you expect to be able to do your job without fear of violence. You also trust that your employer has taken steps to ensure your safety. Unfortunately, in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois, this isn’t always the case.
Too often, workers are seriously injured or killed on the job due to violence. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that two million workers each year are victims of workplace violence. Many of these tragic events could have been prevented.
If you or someone close to you has been harmed by violence in the workplace, contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. A lawyer from our firm can review your case for no charge. We will explain your rights and help you to understand your options as you move forward.
What Types of Workplace Violence Occur in Illinois?
Some violent workplace events make national and local news. But many incidents of workplace violence are reported by media. These may be events that involve you, co-workers, friends or family.
A University of Iowa study has identified four common types of workplace violence:
- Criminal Intent – A perpetrator harms a worker while in the process of carrying out a criminal act such as theft, robbery or trespassing. Examples: An armed robber shoots a convenience store clerk. A shoplifter scratches a security guard while fleeing the store.
- Customer/Client – When the perpetrator becomes violent while being served by the worker. Examples: A patient attacks a nurse. A student assaults a teacher.
- Worker-on-Worker – When the perpetrator who commits the violent act is a co-worker or former co-worker. Examples: An employee hits another employee while arguing over a job task. A disgruntled, fired worker returns to the job on a shooting rampage.
- Personal Relationship – When the perpetrator attacks a worker with whom he or she has a personal relationship. This is really a type of domestic violence. Example: A secretary’s husbands storms into the office and assault his wife.
Your situation may fall into one of these categories. Keep in mind: Workplace violence doesn’t involve only shooting or hitting. It also includes making threats, harassing or stalking. A person trying to do their job should be insulated from this type of harm.
Who Can Be Sued for Workplace Violence in Illinois?
If you are subjected to workplace violence (or you lose a loved one to a violent workplace event), you have a right to take legal action against the perpetrator.
For instance, you can file a complaint with your company’s human resources department. You can also file a police report. Under the new Illinois Workplace Violence Prevention Act, you (or your company) can also seek a restraining order against the perpetrator if he or she is a former co-worker who is making “documented threats” against you or your workplace.
If you have suffered medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other harm, you can also pursue a personal injury claim against the person who harmed you.
However, in many cases, the attack is a symptom of a larger problem. The attack may be the result of your employer’s failure to provide a safe, violence-free workplace.
You may seek compensation from the employer based on its failure to:
- Provide proper security inside the building and in surrounding areas, including the company’s outdoor campus and parking lot. (Alarms, cameras, scanners, lighting and security guards are some steps that could be taken, depending on the workplace.)
- Develop programs, policies and practices designed to prevent workplace violence.
- Train workers on how to identify and react to potentially violent situations.
- Respond to threats made against you, co-workers or the workplace in general (including threats made by a disgruntled former employee).
If the employer hired an outside security company to protect you and other workers, that company could be liable as well for any harm you or a loved one suffers.
Our Attorneys Serve Workplace Violence Victims in Chicago and Illinois
If you or a loved one has been threatened, attacked, harassed or stalked at a workplace in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, it’s important to get legal help right away. Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., will protect your rights. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.
For More Information:
- Workplace Violence: Why Every State Must Adopt a Comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention Law, Cornell HR Review
- Workplace Violence: A Report to the Nation, University of Iowa
- Illinois Workplace Violence Prevention Act, Illinois General Assembly
- Workplace Violence, Occupational Safety and Health Administration