If I get assaulted

This is a discussion on If I get assaulted within the Employment and Labor Law Questions forums, part of the Legal Questions & Answers Forum category; If I get assaulted at work and I get terminated. Is that legal? Here is my situation: I asked someone to do something (which is part of their job). The ...

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  1. #1
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    If I get assaulted

    If I get assaulted at work and I get terminated. Is that legal?

    Here is my situation:

    I asked someone to do something (which is part of their job). The person ignored me. I then decided to do it myself.
    The person told me I was doing it wrong. I then said "Oh well".
    The person then called me an a*****e.
    I went back to what I was doing, the person then got into my face and I honestly felt threatened. I asked several times for the person to remove themselves from my "personal space.". Being ignored, yet again. I grabbed something off the table, as a means of deterrent to get the person away from me. I was then "sucker punched" in the jaw. I did not once retaliate with physical violence. I said a few "bad things" but those only warrant a write-up. I told the manager and the person was suspended. A few days later I was suspended and now I have to go to a meeting to see if I am terminated.

    If I get terminated, do I have any form of lawsuit of wrongful termination?

    Location: Massachusetts.

    If any more information is needed, I will be more then happy to oblige.

    Last edited by CMarriner82; 03-20-2012 at 04:24 AM. Reason: more in depth...

  2. #2
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    Not likely. Most employees are at will and if you don't have an employment contract, you can generally be fired for any non-discriminatory reason.
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    Your recourse is to file for UI, absent a collective bargaining agreement or other contract.

  4. #4
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    So, even though I was assaulted, and I get terminated for for defending myself. I have no case?

    I'm asking about this because my employer has been known to not pay out unemployment.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disagreeable View Post
    Your recourse is to file for UI, absent a collective bargaining agreement or other contract.
    What is a UI?

    (I have no knowledge about these situations as I have never been terminated before.)

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    I think he means unemployment insurance aka unemployment compensation.
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  7. #7
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    Oh, OK. So just go file for unemployment. Which I will do.

    Hope they will pay out. :/

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    They will likely try to claim you violated company policy by fighting. If the fight was recorded, you should consider pressing charges and requesting the prosecutor obtain the video. If you can prove you were assaulted, you can collect even if the employer fights it, most likely. I know another person this happened to and that was the determining point at her appeal hearing.

  9. #9
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    There is video monitoring in the building, however it is not being recorded.

    I do have a catch though. The person whom assaulted me openly admits to "sucker punching" me in their statement.

  10. #10
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    Unless the assailant had struck or threatened to strike you or other employees in the past, it does not appear you can successfully advance any legal action against the employer of his punching you in the jaw.

    With that said, what did you pick up off the table? If you picked up a weapon, his striking you with his fist may be deemed as self-defense.

    Separately, as mentioned above, you should report the incident to the police. Assuming he does not have a viable self-defense claim, he engaged in textbook criminal battery in punching you.

    Finally, with respect to unemployment insurance benefits, you should relate the facts as they occurred if and when you apply for benefits (and, if necessary, during your administrative appeal). While an employer could terminate an at-will worker even though said worker only sought to diffuse a physical altercation, a discharge under these circumstances does not necessarily disqualify the worker from obtaining benefits.


 
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