Suffering an assault at work by a colleague is unfortunately more common than many people realise. Being assaulted at work by anybody, whether it’s a colleague or a customer is not just unacceptable, it is also illegal. Workplace violence can affect everyone, creating a hostile work environment that is counterproductive. If you were assaulted at work by a colleague, you must explore your legal rights.
Common Forms Of Workplace Assaults
Assaults in the workplace may be physical, mental or sexual. Some of the more common forms of workplace assault include:
- Being verbally abusive towards a colleague.
- Threatening or otherwise shouting at another person in an intimidating manner
- Physically attacking another colleague, examples being punching, slapping, pushing, kicking, scratching, spitting on them, pulling their hair.
- Verbally threatening to injure or kill someone or their family or friends.
- Calling a colleague derogatory names or making derogatory comments about their gender, race, sexuality or other personal trait.
- Threatening to sack or demote a worker who may have voiced or filed a complaint.
- Interacting aggressively with another colleague.
- Staring at a colleague menacingly.
- Touching a colleague inappropriately.
- Exposing sex organs to a colleague.
- Trying to solicit sexual favours, either promising some benefit in return or issuing a threat if they refuse.
- Hurling an object at a colleague.
Consequences Of Being Assaulted At Work By Colleague
While being physically attacked results in more obvious injuries, psychological injuries stemming from verbal, emotional and sexual assault are no less damaging. Any worker who has experienced assault in any form can suffer tremendous psychological distress. Not only can they feel embarrassed and humiliated that it happened, but they may also be afraid to go to work knowing that meeting their tormentor would be unavoidable. This can result in a wide range of consequences, from increased stress to anxiety and depression. If nothing is done to stop the continuous assault, it can also cause long-term health problems.
What To Do If You Were Assaulted At Work By A Colleague
The first step you should take after being assaulted by anybody would depend on the nature of the assault.
If you are physically assaulted, your first priority should be to assess your injuries and seek immediate medical attention if you are badly injured.
If the assault was non-physical, here are some things you should do to protect your rights and lend support to a workplace assault compensation claim should you decide to pursue one.
Regardless of the type of assault, you must put some distance between yourself and your attacker to protect yourself from further danger.
Inform your boss, supervisor or manager about the incident.
Write a detailed account of what happened in the log book or accident book, which is typically kept in the HR office. Get a signed record of the entry so that it cannot be tampered with.
Make a note of other colleagues who witnessed the attack.
File a crime report at the nearest police station. This may seem like an unnecessary step but you may need a police report if you have to file a criminal injury claim through the CICA or Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. This may be necessary under certain circumstances and the CICA requires a detailed police report to process workplace assault claims.
Make a note of everything that happened before, during and after the assault. Write down every little detail you can think of. This will help when putting together your claim for compensation. Try and do this as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to overlook some details that may be important.
Call an experienced personal injury solicitor and set up a consultation at the earliest possible date. A personal injury solicitor should give you the best advice about how to proceed if you have a strong claim.
What To Expect From A Personal Injury Solicitor
Most personal injury solicitors offer a first free consultation. During the consultation (typically by phone) they will want to hear details of what transpired. They will also want to know about any evidence that you may already have. If they find that you don’t have a strong enough case, they may advise you to refrain from pursuing a claim. However, if you have a strong claim, they will help you understand your right to compensation and the best way to proceed.
They will also offer to file your claim using a No Win No Fee agreement. With our solicitors this works exactly the way it sounds – if you don’t win compensation, you don’t pay any fees. If you win compensation, only then would you need to pay a fee which is calculated as an agreed percentage of the compensation awarded. The fee would simply be taken directly from the compensation so you are not out of pocket at any point.
How Much Compensation For An Assault By A Colleague?
The exact amount of compensation awarded in any successful personal injury claim including assaults at work depends on a variety of factors. There are however guidelines that solicitors can refer to advising on what compensation amount might be awarded for varying injuries. Use our compensation calculator below to find out what these are.
For an assault at work claim, you could claim compensation for:
- Mental and emotional trauma;
- Physical injuries;
- All medical expenses including cost of travel for treatments;
- Potential costs for long term medical treatments such as physiotherapy;
- Cost of counselling;
- Loss of income from being forced to stay away from work, whether temporarily or permanently;
- Loss of promotional avenues and other perks;
- Cost of assistive devices or structural changes in case of physical assault.
If you have suffered an assault at work by a colleague, please contact us today if you think you may be eligible to pursue a personal injury claim for compensation and would like to speak to a solicitor.