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Violence at Work

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 18 Oct 2019 | comments*Discuss
Violence Abuse Health And Safety Verbal

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) define work-related violence as 'any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.' This includes verbal abuse and threats, as well as any form of physical abuse.

Those most at risk are employees who work with members of the public. However it is important to remember that violence can also be perpetrated by fellow employees.

Duties of employers

Employers have a responsibility to their employees to make sure that they are reasonable safe at work.

Often when considering this duty, employers consider the need for work premises and any machinery to be safe. Whilst these are important considerations, employers must also consider the risk posed by other people employees will meet during the course of their employment.

Higher risk jobs (e.g. workers in care homes for adults suffering from mental illness) would be expected to have specifically assessed this risk and have specific policies and procedures in place to try to reduce the risk of and prevent violent incidents occurring. All employees should be trained on these procedures. If you have concerns, speak to your employer.

It is important that these procedures are reviewed regularly. Any accidents or near misses should be reported to your employer so that they can review whether any amendments are needed.

First steps following an incident

  1. If an incident occurs, promptly report it to your manager. If they don't investigate the incident, make sure that you make notes of what happened, write down the names of any witnesses, and take photos of the area and any injuries
  2. If you wish to pursue the matter as a criminal offence, ask your employer to report it to the police. If they don't do so, you can call the police yourself. (For non-emergency calls, contact the police on 101.)
  3. If you have concerns about the incident being repeated, discuss ways to prevent this with your manager

Criminal action

If any violence (from a member of the public, customer or colleague) is committed against you, consider whether it is a criminal offence. Forms of violence which constitute a criminal offence may include:

  • Use of racially abusive language
  • Threats to kill
  • Physical violence (e.g. punching / kicking, especially if injury is caused)

You may want to consider a civil action against your employer in the form of an employment law claim or an injury claim:

1. Employment law claim

If an employer fails to prevent violence at work, and you have to leave your job as a result, this could constitute a breach of contract and may result in a constructive dismissal claim.

For example: Your employer knows that a fellow employee regularly threatens you and does not take action to prevent the abuse. You are unable to work in those conditions and quit your job. This could be constructive dismissal and you could be entitled to compensation.

Seek advice from an employment law specialist or your local Citizens Advice Bureau if you are considering making an employment claim.

2. Injury claim

If you are injured as a result of violence at work, you may be able to make an injury claim against your employer. Injuries may be physical (e.g. bruising / broken nose) or mental (e.g. a diagnosed psychological condition such as anxiety or PTSD).

Your employer is responsible for ensuring your reasonable safety at work. If they have not taken appropriate action to do so, they may be found to have acted negligently and so be responsible for your injury. Employers are responsible for the actions of other employees, even if criminal. Therefore if, for example, another employee assaults you at work, your employer will be liable to compensate you for any injury suffered as a result.

If you are considering this route, speak to an injury law specialist or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Work-place violence: Everybody's problem

As you will see from the above, violence at work is a serious issue for employers. Not only can work-place violence lead to injured employees requiring time off work, but employers may end up with civil claims against them.

Employees can be assured that the law is very much on their side in terms of ensuring their safety at work, which extends to protection from violence. If you have any concerns, speak to your employer and hopefully you can work together to prevent any incidents occurring. However if any incident does occur and you are not happy with your employer's response to it, remember that you have several legal options open to you in order to resolve the situation.

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A work colleague has pushed his face in mine and poke his finger in my face plus verbally abuse me plus he is well known to take drugs
Paul - 18-Oct-19 @ 7:30 AM
5 days ago I was threatened by a fellow member of staff both verbally and physically ( pushing his chest against my own) .I instantly requested for this to be delt with formally This was reported to the on duty managers imidiattly and we where separated in the warehouse. 5 days later my manager has come to me asking if I would still like to peruse this formally . Should this not have been done closer to the incident??
Will - 15-Oct-19 @ 1:36 AM
A week ago a coworker who was stressed and upset verbally attacked me because i asked for my tables food repeatedly. This was done in front of fellow coworkers and loud enough for guest to hear. I immediately told the mod and said i would go home since i was distraught. I then returned wrote a statement and teturned a few fays later to speak with gm I have clearly expressed i do not feel comfortable working with this person. This employees mother is a manager at the same location. Do i have any rights?
Meme - 8-Oct-19 @ 9:06 PM
Last night in work a colleague grabbed me by the arm rather aggressively to stop me from doing something. This isn't the first incident we have had where before she has screamed in my face while holding her finger very closely to my face. I am pregnant and feel completely uncomfortable around this person and her erratic mood swings. I'm not sure what to do.
Liv - 8-Oct-19 @ 8:07 AM
I work with autistic and challenging behaviour some staff where I work don't do they are supposed to I reportedthings to our team leader as I thought they should know what's going on but now the other staff as found out and keep making remarks now nearly all the staff don't speak or help me at work starting to question me everything I do and when I finished my shift one staff shouted the through the door after I went out "in hate you" I don't know weather they were joking or not.
Baggie - 5-Oct-19 @ 11:53 PM
Where do I stand when an employer threatens to smack my face but no one is there to hear it.
Bingbongben - 1-Oct-19 @ 9:05 AM
I had a co-worker in another department assault me starting with flipping antifreeze jug at me getting antifreeze on my pants, possibly could have got on my eyes if I hadn't jumped back. Then the antifreeze jug was thrown at me after co-worker had emptied it. After this was done, co-worker flipped his knife out in a aggressive manner and put it to my chest with tip of the knife touching my chest. I reported it and management give the guy a week off w/o pay. I'm not satisfied with this, he should have been fired because he's a bully and I told Management this. Management wants me to talk to this guy so he can apologize and it's settled. This is still bothering me and the incident happened Jan 1st 2019. Is there anything else I can do legal wise, or take out assault with deadly weapon charge
DJ - 17-Sep-19 @ 1:18 AM
I have a question, what if you scared a work mate (surprise scare) and they responded by putting there hands around your neck and attempted to choke you??? Isn't that assault?
Chrisyb - 9-Sep-19 @ 4:05 AM
I have a question, what if you scared a work mate (surprise scare) and they responded by putting there's hands around your neck and attempt to choke you??? Isn't that assault?
Chrisyb - 9-Sep-19 @ 4:03 AM
Over the years I became friends with our insurance agent working for the NFUM. She left suddenly in the new year and there was a shutdown over why. I have been told today that an ex client had been threatening her for 2 years ,sending threats to her at home and finally a physical assault. At her own admission she was scared, she told her boss and was ignored. She thought they didn’t care. Consequently worry , sleepless nights, her work standard dropped, she made mistakes and suffered a complete stress induce breakdown. She has received no help from the mutual. As she was self employed, she has no rights, why is this.
Whocanshetalkto - 23-Aug-19 @ 7:53 AM
I have today been threatened on work grounds whilst with customers by 2 boys on mopeds. FYI I did absolutely nothing to antagonise these boys. They have pulled out 2 hammers from their seats and I was chased back to my office. I really don’t know what to do I can’t go back to work I’m a young lady working in the same office daily and I walk around the building site with customers regularly. I am terrified to go back. 07500 579042
T - 28-Jul-19 @ 4:41 PM
I got into an altercation at work with a coworker. He reported to the boss that I punched him on the chin, not true, then he threw me on the floor, had his fist ready to hammer me, then said, DO THIS AGAIN AND I'LL KILL YOU"! He admitted this in his written statement and to the boss verbally. Do I have a case against him?
Richard - 26-Jun-19 @ 5:51 AM
I've been attacked twice now yesterday really bad by my boss he is my next door neighbour 07835564131
Dave - 18-Jun-19 @ 12:05 PM
I worked in health care I'm a CNA,recently, I was called in for counseling regarding care to this patient they commented that they didn't like when I interrupt their care to ask a question or speak to my hall partner only done when I need to do my job they also stated I interrupt the charge nursewhen she is having a conversation that I ask dumb questions that couldof waited until later, this patient cmented I could just kill her, l could choke her,recently I entered into the patients room the door was open to get a lift to usefor another patient this patient told me I couldn't use the equipmentwas very verbal this equipment should be placed on the hall not left in the room the equipment belongs to company my employer , rencently I needed to use the equipment again the equipment was placed in his room instead of on the hallI entered into room door was open to get equipment to use , my hall partner was standing behind a door step out and said he was going to use the equipment for the patient I left equipment there and l went to find another lift he complained to my supervisorstated I argued with him andI didn't I don't feel comfortable with this patient he is ex military and has mental problems he's very large approximate 300 pounds and seems to have very angry feelings towards me do I have any employee rightsto ask to be removed from providing care an entering his room I need my job and I don't want any trouble
B - 12-Jun-19 @ 9:55 PM
My boss threw a bottle at me at a meeting with all my coworkers were there and witness it that we were not getting paid for then threaten to fire me what do I do
Pedro - 2-Jun-19 @ 2:53 AM
I am a new server, I was working my shift in the Morning a Guest looked at a high chair and asked if the high chair was to Kill and Bury a Server? I reported the comment to the Manager, Supervisor and Shift Lead and they just laughed about it.. I asked them to go the table and they refused Suddenly there was issues with my food being cooked correctly and I was cut off the floor Should I at least make a police report
Laurie - 12-May-19 @ 5:47 PM
Today this afternoon i was working at shop my colleague was angry since morning he had fight with one customer and he started scolding customer and then after he hit one uncle at work place with pump truck and then he attack on me and now my back is paining i am not able work with my right hand as it is paining a lot and i got mentally harass and bullying by the same person and there was one lady who is my witness who shows her to attack on me and she is so scared as well but that man is so dangerous as we can not work with him and we report this complain to management and they did not take any action i hope i will get an appointment from my GP soon so i can check my self and that was so horrible day i had at work now even i m getting scare to go work. I do not know what to do i can not work with him he carry knife all the time at work and while hitting me he was saying like if he had knife or road he must have killed me. But i do not have any witness for the same so i do not know how i can prove this but i am sure that i am so scared and i more concern about my life now and my mental as well as physical condition is critical.
K - 2-May-19 @ 9:42 PM
Hi, So the new supervisor just joined the shop I work at only been here 5 months. I am currently pregnant. He keeps pushing me n getting in my way all the time. Now the other day I went to walk around him n he put his foot out n I stumbled unfortunately I retaliated n kicked the bottom of his foot n said why did you try tripping me up to which he smirked n said no I didn’t! Now my boss knows he’s pushed me but now where I stand as I kicked his foot back. Do I take this further or do I just keep a note all the times he does it. I don’t feel safe at work n really cannot wait for my maternity to start. This is stressing me out so of course it’s not ideal for the baby
Mumof3 - 28-Apr-19 @ 8:50 PM
I have been threatened by a security guard(also employed by the same company) during my shift. He was berbally abusing and threatened me to smash my f.cking face...without any reason. I have reported it to my line manager and I have written a personal statement and i officially complained about him. At the moment it seems like they want to have a meeting with him but doesn't seem like they are going to fire him. I repeatedly mentioned that I am not willing to work with that person anymore. It makes me feel bad to work in that environment anymore but obviously I don't want to lose me job. What am I suppose to do?
Tomi - 24-Apr-19 @ 8:23 PM
I was a victim on March 27, 2019 in workplace, one of my colleagues, was thrown, kicked my buckets and pour water on the ground in the presence of my supervisor I kept my calm, I wanted to continue with my job, but he’s going to take my bucket of water again and then I went to get my bucket he was holding, so he gave me a fatal stunt, punching me and holding my neck. Meanwhile, my supervisor was watching how he hit me and to save me I had to apply self-defense because he absolutely wanted to fight me, my supervisor seeing that I had become stronger than him, then, he informed ourmanager, but in his report, the supervisor made a sentimental report, but I informed my manager that my witness is CCTV. So, morning the manager arrived, he went to see CCTV, and his return from CCTV, he told me go home, I will send you an e-mail and to my colleague, he said you come to see me at my office at night, since then I do not work anymore. The disciplinary measures seem to strike me, who am a victim and who has used self-defense. So, on April 18, 2019, I'm waiting for the decision. Otherwise, I am waiting for the last decision to see how HRM will decide and then, I decide if I can contact courts if they make unfair against me Should I be struck by someone who absolutely wanted to liquidate me? and who did not want me to be able to continue working there? Leonardo
Leonardo - 16-Apr-19 @ 11:38 PM
I am a team leader . And management asked me to tell my team to do something for them. My team refuses to do it and verbal attacks me , the next morning in our meeting. I slap my hand down on my desk with disgust , spilling my coffee and while throwing it away the lid comes of getting a very small amount on the main person in my team causing all the static. I cover for alot of my teams mess ups to keep them from being wrote up . I get wrote up for my actions and telling them to grow up.
Bigboxer - 31-Mar-19 @ 12:32 PM
One of my colleagues mothers come into store wanting to have a mouthful at me/ wanting to hit me for some telltale things her daughter told her, what should my employer do if she does come in and assault me?
Ti - 5-Mar-19 @ 8:49 AM
I was assaulted at work, I did not say or do anything when it happened,butthey was a witness. I reported it the next day. My manager said that I must stay away from the person and he will tell them to stay away from me. This is how he dealt with it. I am so upset I feel that I have not been protected from this person. I feel more should have been done. Prior this assault the person has been using my name in vain, I didn't report it as I just thought nothing of it. This person will be returning to work what the best option. I am seriously thinking of reporting this to the police and seeking legal advice. I feel that the person has got away with what they have done to me yet I am the one who is suffering
Mat - 16-Feb-19 @ 7:57 PM
In response to Big Cliff hey this may make you feel better but I no all about what happened to you as there has been genuine concern from us at another store and ive worked with you previously so I can imagine that youve felt dropped by the big guys happens all the time but us little workers at the store have been asking after you and just wanted to reach out to say Im thinking of you and hope given time your back to your best :)
Tee - 18-Nov-18 @ 4:48 PM
Me and my young daughter have suffered continued harrassment from a particular family resulting in an attack on my daughter and having to move her school but the mother of this family set a plan in motion to firstly attack my at work and then proceed to make an anonymous complaint pretending to be a member of the public sickened by the brawling but not only have i been suspended from my job i have to attend a disciplinarily meeting and there are roughly 6 statements from my co-workers saying what they saw but there is 1 co-worker who has lied in her statement because as it happens her job isnt secure and will likely be moved to another store due to a loss of the amounts of acailable hours at our store and having told me herself of her worry and how unfair it is she will benefit from my dismissal and feel this is why she has lied i dont no what to do ive literally fallen apart by feeling a failure at not protecting my daughter but also so low i cant pull myself together the effect on my mental health has been monumental and my manager isnt get back to me and iv days away from the meeting baring in mind from the incident to the meeting has been 4days only 2 of those days business days im at a loss at how unfair this is after 12years service and not a blemish on my record will i likely be dismissed or a written warning can anyone put my mind to rest.
Tee - 18-Nov-18 @ 4:40 PM
I witnessed a member of staff abandon their position without authorisation, I confronted them & asked them why and he became immediately verbally aggressive & abusive. When I explained calmly that I was his supervisor he got in my face and started threatening me whilst swearing heavily. I was shocked & as he turned to leave I pushed with an open hand & told him to get back to work. He got back in my face & started threatening me again & I walked away. I have now been suspended for assault as I am being portrayed as the aggressor. How much trouble am I in?
Leyton - 3-Nov-18 @ 12:40 PM
My son was physically threatened with a knife by another worker three weeks ago. Son is now off work with anxiety and low mood because this person is still working there. An alleged disciplinary is meant to happen but still waiting. Nobody will tell him anything and at a sickness meeting he was made to feel as if he was the guilty one. What can we do??
Grohlsgal - 25-Oct-18 @ 10:50 PM
A coworker called me lazy then pushed me in to machinery so I pushed him away from me then he punched me I got to the work truck and my manager fired us both for fighting.. I was only fighting to get away from the scary man
Freckles - 11-Oct-18 @ 7:32 AM
I am a Support Worker with mental health adults. Manager told me tiday I must take a battering, a few slaps and hair pulling from user to get accepted by the user. She said all staff have to experience this to be able to gain acceptance. Don't know what yo say as I am worried for myself and other new staff.
Miss Concerned - 27-Sep-18 @ 7:12 PM
hi, I was few times verbally assaulted at work from same colleague, I have already submitted informal complaint this year with HR and I took a week off my holiday just to have a breathing space from this colleague. today again I was shouted at and sworn at by this colleague and he tried to belittle me in front of HR and another colleague, then he went outside to speak to his brother who is DM and DM came in the office to shout at me, later on DM apologized and I accepted his apology but I am pretty much ready to leave the work place as I am not in the mood anymore to work in same space as this guy. I am currently pregnant and this is not doing me well especially in my condition. what can I do?
monmon27 - 24-Sep-18 @ 12:29 PM
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Latest Comments
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