Workers’ Compensation for Workplace Violence
Security Guards Risk Injury Due to Facemask Enforcement
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best in many people – and the worst in others. While workplace violence incidents were once extremely rare, the news is now full of tragic stories of employees being intentionally harmed while working.
According to a recent article in Bloomberg Law, employees who deal with the public are increasingly being screamed at, spat on, physically assaulted, and even killed for trying to enforce mask-wearing rules . In November, a Family Dollar security guard was shot and killed for trying to enforce mask-wearing rules. And in October, two Chicago women repeatedly stabbed a security guard after he told them that they would need to wear facemasks and use hand sanitizer in order to enter the store.
And, security guards aren’t the only employees facing increased threats of violence in the workplace. Right here in Los Angeles, Lady Gaga’s dog walker was shot during the robbery of the famous musicians pure breed dogs.
Facemask Related Workplace Violence Continues to Rise
Security guards continue to be a trending profession as retail stores and others hire more and more security guards to enforce COVID-19 precautions such as facemask wearing, hand sanitizer use and social distancing. According to Bloomberg News, one security company hired 105,000 security guards in 2020 and is expected to hire another 30,000 by April,.
This is fueled largely by The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union – representing 1.3 million retail employees in the U.S. and Canada – who have requested that retailers hire security guards to enforce mask mandates. And as more security guards are getting hired – they are also getting hurt more often.
Workers Comp Covers Workplace Violence Injury
Our lawyers understand that the emotional and psychological impact of a workplace violence incident can be even more long-lasting than the physical injuries.
Fortunately, the California workers’ compensation system is a “no-fault” system. So any employee who was injured at (or made ill by) at work – including by violent acts of coworkers, customers or strangers is covered. Benefits include both medical treatment and money to live on, until they are able to return to work. As long as the injury occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his or her job, they are entitled to be compensated by the employer’s workers compensation insurance. This includes injuries incurred due to workplace violence, even if the violence was in no way the fault, or even foreseeable, by the employer.
However, the workers’ compensation system is not always particularly “user friendly” to employees – and often times the employer and/or their workers comp insurer will try to “deny” a workers comp claim. One of the main methods they use to try and deny a workers compensation claim is to contend that the injury was not incurred as a result of an employee acting “within the scope of his or her job.”
So – while injuries resulting from violent actions that occur in the workplace ARE typically compensable under workers comp – an employer may try to claim that the employee’s injury is not covered under workers’ compensation because the events leading to the injury was “not related to the employment”.
For this reason it is often most effective to have an experienced workers compensation lawyer by your side. They can ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the Maximum workers compensation benefits for which you may qualify.
<h2style=”font-size: 28px;”=””>Can I Sue My Employer for Workplace Violence? </h2style=”font-size:>
Generally, employees who receive Workers Compensation for an injury or illness are prevented from bringing additional lawsuits or other legal action against the employer. Workers Compensation is considered an “exclusive remedy”, which means the employees give up the right to also bring a separate personal injury law suit.
However, under some limited circumstances, where an employer’s actions are extremely negligent or egregious, an employee may bring a lawsuit in addition to their workers compensation case.
An employee injured by workplace violence may (under some limited circumstances) be able to sue under one of these “exceptions” to the “exclusive remedy”:
- If there was a known or suspected danger of a violent employee, an injured employee may try to argue that the employer’s failure to prevent the workplace violence was an “intentional tort” for which the employer can also be sued.
- If the employer was also the lessor of property, the employee’s recovery may not solely be limited to workers’ comp under something called “dual capacity” which holds the employer also liable as the owner of the property.
In some limited cases an employer can also be held liable for “Negligent Hiring” and/or “Negligent Supervision and Retention” of a dangerous employee. Typically in these cases it must be proved that the employer had actual or constructive knowledge of the employee’s violent or dangerous tendencies.
Our Workers Comp Lawyers Can Help
If you or a family member were the victim of senseless workplace violence, our hearts go out to you. And our compassionate and experienced lawyers are here to help you. We have helped hundreds of individuals in Orange County, including Long Beach, Santa Ana, Anaheim & Irvine, collect the maximum Workers Compensation for which they qualify. We will be happy to offer you a free consultation to evaluate your legal options and help you obtain the maximum compensation for which you qualify – so you can begin to heal and regain your life.
Your consultation with our workers’ comp lawyers is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ comp benefits for which you qualify.