Employees, regardless of their profession, have the right to a reasonable expectation of workplace safety. This is most often spoken of in terms of preventing workplace accidents, but there are other situations where an employer can be expected to act when necessary to protect employees, and one of these is dealing with potential workplace violence.
Major acts of workplace violence make the national news, such as the Hesston shooting in February of 2016, but smaller scale violence happens thousands of times per year, as evidenced by an incident that occurred in Chicago on May 29, 2018. A shift manager at a Taco Bell stabbed another employee in the abdomen after an argument escalated.
There are a variety of ways an employer can reduce the risk of incidents such as this occurring, including:
- Acting quickly and decisively when interpersonal conflicts exist
- Performing a thorough background check on potential employees
- Limiting access to weapons at the workplace
No one should have to fear for their safety at work. The Chicago situation is even scarier because the perpetrator was the shift manager, with authority over the other workers. Companies should be particularly careful regarding who they place in authoritative positions, as these hiring decisions can have drastic impacts on the safety concerns of other employees.
Many organizations have made great strides in limiting workplace accidents, but still fail to properly address other risks their employees might face. If you or someone you love has been injured at work, whether due to an accident or another preventable situation, please consult with an experienced attorney. Only by holding employers accountable for their practices can we make every workplace as safe as it can be.