Workplace Rights

Weekly (10/17/22)

Topic of the Week  Workplace Violence

Every year about 2 million American workers are victims of violence in the workplace. Workplace violence can range from verbal threats and abuse to physical attacks and homicide. Homicide is the leading cause of workplace death for women and the second leading cause of workplace death for all workers. Estimates show that up to 703 people a year are the victims of homicide in American workplaces.

Some workers are more vulnerable to workplace violence than others. For example, workplace violence against women is more prevalent than against men. Workers in the health care and social assistance industries are also vulnerable. Employees that work in the health care field are often victims of verbal attacks, physical attacks, and other forms of harassment. The highest rates of abuse are against nurses and nursing aides because they spend a lot of time with patients.

1. What is my employer required to do to protect me from violence in the workplace?
Employers can reduce the likelihood of violence in the workplace by assessing their work site. There is currently no official OSHA standard for workplace violence. But, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released guidelines for dealing with workplace violence. For example, OSHA recommends guidelines for violence protection programs at night retail establishments. If an employer fails to follow these guidelines it does not make them automatically responsible if there is an attack. While state laws may vary, OSHA has not set any specific standards for workplace violence. Workers are somewhat protected by the general duty clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which requires employers to provide a safe and healthful workplace for all covered employees. OSHA may cite an employer for failing to protect their employees from a recognized violence hazard in the workplace.

2. Are employees allowed to carry guns in the workplace?
No law specifically prohibits possession of a firearm in a workplace. But employers may create policies restricting the possession of firearms in the workplace. The owners of leased property where a business operates may also restrict the possession of firearms on the property. Employers must notify their employees of these restrictions in clear and legible terms.

3. What should I do if I am the victim of violence in the workplace?
If you have been threatened at your workplace, or have been the victim of physical violence at work, report it immediately to your supervisor and detail the incident in writing. If your supervisor or employer does not act, or the threat of further violence is serious, report it to the local police.

Thought of the Week


Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

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Your Workplace Rights During Natural Disasters and Emergencies

The following federal laws provide the framework for understanding your workplace rights in the event that a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, hurricane, fire, flood, or other emergency occurs.

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