Millions of Americans suffer from workplace injuries, and workplace violence is the 10th most common reason for injury on the job. While there have been some high-profile cases, not all incidences of workplace violence make the news.
Workplace Violence Basics
According to the US Department of Labor, workplace violence is considered to be any act or threat of physical violence at the worksite. Workplace violence can range from threats to homicide with all types of acts in between.
Workplace violence is one of the top reasons for on-the-job injury. Close to 2 million workers report instances of workplace violence annually. These occurrences happen most often to retail, transportation and protective services employees. Some cases involve disgruntled customers, family members or acquaintances, others are perpetrated by fellow employees. Unfortunately, completely random incidents sometimes occur.
Preventing Workplace Violence
In some cases, workplaces are considered liable in workplace violence cases. Not having appropriate policies in place or failure to respond to threats can increase the injury risk for employees. When a co-worker is violent toward another employee, this is particularly troublesome to employers. When injuries happen as the direct result of employment, the injured party may be eligible for workers compensation benefits.
Illinois courts generally rule in favor of employers when an act of violence is truly random. If something within the work environment places the worker at increased risk for violence, the legal results may be different. For example, if an employer knowingly places an employee in an area that is prone to violent attacks, this may be considered a preventable act.
Workplace Violence and Workers Compensation
Federal regulations require employers to maintain safe and healthy workplaces. In many cases, employees may not file civil lawsuits against their employers and workers compensation benefits are the only form of recourse unless a suit is filed against a third-party responsible for the violence. Workers compensation benefits are generally lower than monetary awards from lawsuits.
Workers compensation benefits are designed to help injured employees pay for expenses from medical bills and to recover lost wages. A Chicago work injury lawyer can provide additional information regarding Illinois workers compensation law and workplace violence. For those who believe that they are at-risk for acts of workplace violence, additional Illinois laws are in place that have been created to protect workers from violent acts.