When you go to work each day, you expect that you will be safe while there. The last thing you expect is to face the risk of personal injury or even death at the hands of your coworkers or others who frequent your business. Unfortunately, however, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that workplace violence has become an all too common phenomenon in America. In one recent year, the OSHA handled more than 2 million workplace violence complaints.
You face an especially high risk of becoming a workplace violence victim if your job requires you to do one or more of the following:
- Work alone or in isolation
- Work in a business that sells or serves alcohol
- Work during nighttime hours
- Exchange money with customers
- Work in a high crime area
- Work with unstable and/or volatile people
Types of workplace violence
Workplace violence can take many forms, including the following:
- Verbal abuse
- Harassment or bullying
- Assaults and batteries
- Threats of physical violence
While not all of these necessarily result in your suffering a personal injury, still they represent actions and behaviors prohibited in the workplace.
Your rights as an employee
Keep in mind that no law requires you to put your life or wellbeing in danger just so you can get and keep a job. In fact, the law requires your employer to provide you with a workplace that is both safe and healthy. The one exception to this rule applies to high-risk employees such as military personnel, law enforcement officers and firefighters.
You are well within your rights to report any threatening or unsafe behaviors you encounter while working, be they from your coworkers, customers, suppliers or anyone else who makes inappropriate comments, gestures or threats to you.