Nevada employers who fail to appropriately respond to threats of violence in the workplace can be held liable for the injuries and wrongful deaths that result from their negligence. Workplace violence is a growing threat in America. Employers have a responsibility to their employees to take reasonable measures to protect them from violent acts.
Threats in the Workplace
Violent acts can include shootings, stabbings, rape, and physical assaults. These acts are often perpetrated by co-workers or customers, but they can be committed by anyone who enters the place of business. Workplace violence is a growing problem in America. Each year hundreds of individuals are killed and thousands more are injured. Many incidents of workplace violence are preventable and it is common for employers to have knowledge of potential problems and individuals who may pose a serious threat to their workers.
Employers have a responsibility to employees that includes providing adequate security in the workplace, documenting known threats and incidents, and taking reasonable steps to prevent threats to workers. These steps can include the placement of security cameras, securing doors, hiring security, and cooperating with police investigations. When employers fail to take active steps to protect workers, they negligently place them at risk of serious harm or death.
Exclusive Remedy Rule
As long as workers’ compensation insurance is in place, workers cannot typically file personal injury lawsuits against their employers following incidents of workplace violence. This includes situations where an employer had prior knowledge of a potential threat. In most cases, workers recoveries are limited to the benefits provided through workers’ compensation claims.
However, there are a few exceptions. For instance, if the employer caused intentional harm to an employee, the injured party would be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the company.
Moving in a New Direction
The Nevada Assembly recently approved AB 348. This legislation will require healthcare providers in Nevada to create comprehensive violence prevention plans and enhanced tracking of incidents within hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The bill will enhance workplace protections for healthcare workers in Nevada and could serve as a springboard to enhancing protections for workers in other industries.