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Violence at Work

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 12 Jun 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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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
Attacked at work by shoplifter with a syringe fought him of and call the police . But after the incident i was not asked by any manager if i was ok or need and support. I have since left and I am being treated for low mood and anxiety i have suffered from ptsd in the past.
Big cliff - 20-Sep-18 @ 3:10 PM
Basically i was put in a choke hold at my place of work while sitting at the desk, my my manager was present, after being choked for 12 secs and being left breathless and coughing i look at my manger and he is amused by what he saw. i then come back two days later to find out he is still working in the store amongst other employees and customers & i am told by colleagues, i heard what happened and its absolutely awful you should accept that so basically i got the CCTV of him choking me for my own protection in case it happens again as the lads were saying for your own sake its best you save that and i went on holiday for two weeks then return to work to be told i am suspended for two weeks my manager due to the fact i took footage from the company so they are trying to say GDPR, i have raised a grievance as a weeks prior to me being assualted this guy was verbally agressive, telling people he has to physical stop himself from hurting me & my manager knew about it and egged it on by making a CV stating this guy was going to buy a knife and stab me one day, that was 6 days beofr ehe actually assaulted me. now i have been suspended for two weeks paid now it has reached the end. it has been a whole month i have heard nothing back, im not getting paid anymore and i have monthly out goings i need to maintain. i have been signed off with SSP due to stress at work but haven't sent it HR can i while suspended ?? so I am looking for advice on these certain questions ( Below ) Can i dismissed for taking the footage of the assault if the reason was because my manager did nothing to stop it at the time it happened & thought it was okay for him to continue working after ??? Can i hand in a SSP due to stress at work while suspended as im now not being paid ????
redeyedia - 10-Sep-18 @ 12:14 AM
Basically i was put in a choke hold at my place of work while sitting at the desk, my my manager was present, after being choked for 12 secs and being left breathless and coughing i look at my manger and he is amused by what he saw. i then come back two days later to find out he is still working in the store amongst other employees and customers & i am told by colleagues, i heard what happened and its absolutely awful you should accept that so basically i got the CCTV of him choking me for my own protection in case it happens again as the lads were saying for your own sake its best you save that and i went on holiday for two weeks then return to work to be told i am suspended for two weeks my manager due to the fact i took footage from the company so they are trying to say GDPR, i have raised a grievance as a weeks prior to me being assualted this guy was verbally agressive, telling people he has to physical stop himself from hurting me & my manager knew about it and egged it on by making a CV stating this guy was going to buy a knife and stab me one day, that was 6 days beofr ehe actually assaulted me. now i have been suspended for two weeks paid now it has reached the end. it has been a whole month i have heard nothing back, im not getting paid anymore and i have monthly out goings i need to maintain. i have been signed off with SSP due to stress at work but haven't sent it HR can i while suspended ?? so I am looking for advice on these certain questions ( Below ) Can i dismissed for taking the footage of the assault if the reason was because my manager did nothing to stop it at the time it happened & thought it was okay for him to continue working after ??? Can i hand in a SSP due to stress at work while suspended as im now not being paid ????
redeyedia - 9-Sep-18 @ 5:05 PM
In 2016 my husband was the victim of a serious assault by a customer resulting in him being punched and kicked unconscious. His injuries meant he had to have facial reconstruction surgery and now has 3 titanium plates around his eye and permanent nerve pain on one side of his face.His attacker was sentenced to 18 months in prison and CICA have paid a small amount of compensation. Is there any further action we can take as security cameras were not installed in the store (but they were installed rapidly after) and my husband was unaware of any panic alarm. This was in a pharmacy.Please help.
Helen - 8-Sep-18 @ 3:35 PM
I'm a bus driver I got robbed of my cash takingsI'm off work now
Buddy UK - 3-Sep-18 @ 5:07 PM
I was badly sworn by a male colleague with threats to fight me - within earshot of line manager Manager laughed. I asked manager to take action and she did not. I asked a number of times, but was told to shut up and put up. This made me very ill, and I ended up leaving job.I am being seen as the bad party which is unfair
DollyRocker - 24-Aug-18 @ 12:38 PM
Was assualted at work twice 1st incident I used self defence to stop him although he had hurt me. He attacked me again and hit me round the face with a mug which shatteredas again I used self defence up to the point I had to use reasonable force to stop him. The witness i had with me said he didn’t see much. Work are trying to get me to resign. Any ideas what I should do?
Dobbo - 19-Aug-18 @ 7:31 PM
Please help last night a customer went to hit me but was stopped then went off come back few minutes later threatening to stab me I called my manager he came over spoke to witness then said ok I have to go now and left me in throwing distance of the customer is he wrong should he not of sent me away and he deal with the customer
Shorty - 29-Jul-18 @ 6:55 PM
jim - Your Question:
I was assaulted at work for sitting in a chair before someone.They deliberately knocked hot coffee over me, kicked me in the top part of my shoulder (wearing steel toe cap boots) then spat in my face.I was told by the management that I was sat out of shot on the CCTV footage. 4 people witnessed this happen. 1 of these people confirmed what occurred.The manager who dealt with this has since been dismissed for failing a drugs test. I feel his 'investigation' was unsatisfactory due to his own complacency and laziness.Since then I have been verbally abused by this person and victimised by other work colleagues due to them being friends with this person. I have told my current manager, yet still nothing is being done.I feel miserable in my job now and I am ready to quit. Some help would be greatly appreciated.

Our Response:
Raise a formal complaint to your employer, saying that you don't feel the issue was dealt with properly and inline with their disciplinary procedures. ACAS is a good place to try if you want to speak with someone directly about it.
SafeWorkers - 27-Jul-18 @ 11:18 AM
I was assaulted at work for sitting in a chair before someone. They deliberately knocked hot coffee over me, kicked me in the top part of my shoulder (wearing steel toe cap boots) then spat in my face. I was told by the management that I was sat out of shot on the CCTV footage. 4 people witnessed this happen. 1 of these people confirmed what occurred. The manager who dealt with this has since been dismissed for failing a drugs test. I feel his 'investigation' was unsatisfactory due to his own complacency and laziness. Since then I have been verbally abused by this person and victimised by other work colleagues due to them being friends with this person. I have told my current manager, yet still nothing is being done. I feel miserable in my job now and I am ready to quit. Some help would be greatly appreciated.
jim - 26-Jul-18 @ 7:22 AM
Mommabear - Your Question:
My brother was in a relationship with a work colleague which was known to the workplace. They recently had an incident outside of work where they had an argument and were verbally aggressive. Since this incident my brother has been off work due to his mental health and is now on medication and having counselling. The woman he was seeing has told work that he attacked her and he is now facing disciplinary action even though he has not been seen by work for his description of events. There was no police involvement and no charges have been bought.The worry is that he will lose his job based on an argument outside of work and the information given by one party only. Can this happen? Where can he find some support?

Our Response:
The employer should carry out an investigation and follow correct disciplinary procedures (which would involve interviewing both parties etc). An incident outside of work between two people in a private relationship would not normally be dealt with by an employer unless a no office relationship policy is in place etc. Citizens' Advice or ACAS are good places to start looking for support/advice.
SafeWorkers - 24-Jul-18 @ 11:14 AM
My brother was in a relationship with a work colleague which was known to the workplace. They recently had an incident outside of work where they had an argument and were verbally aggressive. Since this incident my brother has been off work due to his mental health and is now on medication and having counselling. The woman he was seeing has told work that he attacked her and he is now facing disciplinary action even though he has not been seen by work for his description of events. There was no police involvement and no charges have been bought. The worry is that he will lose his job based on an argument outside of work and the information given by one party only. Can this happen? Where can he find some support?
Mommabear - 23-Jul-18 @ 1:45 PM
I work in an office with an man who must be in his late 50's who has made me feel indimitated and unerved for the last 8 years, I have never told any one else that he gives me the creeps and I have avoided all social situations with work colleagues so that I have no interaction with him.Every one else in the office thinks he's wonderful and clever yet I have always suspected he might be manipulative possibly preditory and violent, he says he doesn't drink; however as I suspected I found out from another work colleague that he showed real venom at the Blenheim Palace protests even though the protests were suppose to be peaceful.The man seems to charm ever one and I can't believe that I am the only person in the office that can see through it, I think if he would get the chance he would be both verbally and physically violent towards me at work. I don't have enough evidence to go to the police however I could tell them that I believed he used to follow me around the building at lunchtime.
Caspa - 13-Jul-18 @ 9:51 AM
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