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Working With Someone Who Assaulted You

Can my employer make me work with someone who assaulted me?

No, says a Connecticut judge in a recent case.

A female security guard was assaulted by a co-worker with a motor vehicle.  The police charged the attacker with assault, reckless endangerment and reckless driving.  The victim saw the attacker every day at shift change and requested reassignment to avoid him.  The employer denied her request, so she quit.   She then brought a “constructive discharge” lawsuit, claiming that the employer’s refusal to reassign her to avoid her attacker created an intolerable working condition.  The employer filed a motion to dismiss, but the judge denied it. 

The rule from this case is that employers should not simply deny requests by employees to be reassigned to avoid dangerous coworkers.  Employees in Connecticut have a right to a “reasonably safe place to work…”  Conn.Gen.Stat. Sec. 31-49.  They shouldn’t have to choose between their safety and their job.