Yes, you can sue a fellow employee or even your employer for threatening you in the state of Florida. In Florida, assault is defined as any intentional act or threat of violence towards another person.
Note that when someone tries to harm another, whether by actions or by words, irrespective of whether they can carry out the threats, the action can be considered an assault, and the victim of the said assault can file for a workers’ compensation claim and lawsuit.
Truth be told, active spaces like the workplace are not alien to disagreements and arguments. Note that there are situations when these heated office exchanges can intensify into a full-blown fight, and this can lead to office assault.
The employee who committed an assault on a fellow employee can be held liable for any injuries they caused as long as it is proven that the assault was not work-related and that the employer refused to condone the behavior. Have it in mind that the employee who committed the act can also be held liable for financial damages.
Aside from that, employers can also be held liable when there is proof that they, in any way, contributed to the assault. This simply entails that they may have provoked or encouraged their employees into carrying out the act, failed to stop the assault despite understanding that it would happen, or because of employer negligence.
Employers in Florida are always expected to carry workers’ compensation insurance as stipulated by state law. A sufferer of workplace assault who had to deal with injuries cannot file for a personal injury claim against the employer but they can file for workers’ compensation.
Under the workers’ compensation policy, employees are compensated for any injuries that they acquired in the workplace, including injuries and damages from being assaulted by a fellow employee.
How to Deal With Assaults or Being Threatened at Work in Florida
Employees in the state of Florida can experience workplace harassment—demeaning, abusive, or authoritarian behavior carried out by coworkers or even employers. Statistics have it that only one in 10 victims of workplace harassment report it (and just 17% stand up to the bully themselves). Nonetheless, if you feel threatened or you are being threatened at work in Florida, here are steps to consider;
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Evaluate the Threat
There are times you may find yourself in situations at work that feel threatening. Owing to that, it is recommended that you take your time to assess and understand if the person threatening you has a history of violence and how aggressive they have been in the past. Also, take into consideration their tone and behavior within the period you felt threatened.
You need to understand that people have varying personalities. Some people will come on too strong, and it may appear like a joke to them, but you feel threatened and uncomfortable. Evaluate the situation, ask them to stop, and if the insults and threatening messages continue, then you can go ahead and consider the other options noted below.
Every organization has its laws and policies that safeguard employees’ rights. To make a case when this person gets investigated, you also have to keep a record of all the threats you got through email and phone messages as proof.
Once you feel threatened at work, it is important you respectfully speak up, or else the threat could intensify into action and result in you getting hurt. Just as was noted above, people have varying personalities and no two persons are the same.
Owing to that, if you find yourself in a situation where you feel threatened, it is important you remove yourself from the space physically. Consider walking away, and avoiding a confrontation because things can get out of hand. Aside from that, you can try to take care of things on your own and reach out to them to calm them down, but it is not guaranteed that they won’t hurt you.
Irrespective of how much you want to save that person’s career, it is very necessary you first protect yourself and others by coming forward and filing a complaint with the human resource department. Most often, you are not the only one they must have threatened, and your calm response could help avoid physical violence in the work environment.
If you have spoken to the person threatening you and the threats still persist, then it is recommended you file a written report with your supervisor to explain what happened, where, and how. Ensure to provide as many details as you can remember. If you have some evidence, ensure to add it and wait to see the kind of actions taken. Most often, companies have laws and regulations that are meant to deal with this kind of situation.
If you filed or reported a case as serious as a threat in the workplace, then the organization’s management team can fire the person to validate that it doesn’t accept such behavior in the establishment. If they listen, they will adhere to the policies and address the issue in-house and resolve it.
To solve the issue as fast as possible, they may choose to discipline the defaulter, then make available counseling and paid anger management classes to try and let them work through their issues before returning to work.
In some situations, the best a company or an employer could do to guarantee a healthy working environment is to transfer the employees involved to different departments. Once you have exhausted all options in the company with no results, you can proceed to take the next step.
Work With an Attorney and Go To Court
Just as was noted above, you can sue a fellow employee or even your employer for threatening you in the state of Florida. Usually, the best course of action is to write down all the incidents of harassment, and then complain to the employer through the internal procedures.
If that does not work, then you may want to file an official charge of discrimination with the government. This includes the EEOC or the Florida Commission on Human Relations. Also, note that you can instead file your case with a court in the state of Florida.
Have it in mind that once you go to court, you can sue the person threatening your life and the organization for not protecting you as an employee. Ensure to report things as soon as they occur, and do not withhold any information. It is important that you see a lawyer before doing that though.