Unfortunately, today mass shootings can occur in a variety of public spaces from movie theaters to schools to the workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace homicides rose by 2 percent in 2015, totaling 417 cases. Because of this uptick in workplace shootings, employers must have an emergency preparedness plan in place for their employees to keep them safe. The most recent shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland is a stark reminder to employers to increase security at the workplace and hold drills for employees so that they know where to hide and how to protect themselves in case a shooter enters the building.
Getting shot at work can be traumatic for everyone involved—even victims who weren’t physically injured.
Although workplace shootings happen for a variety of reasons, a common theme among them is revenge against the employer, a romantic partner, or ex co-workers.
If you have been a victim of a workplace shooting it can be difficult to move on with your life due to physical injuries or post-traumatic stress from the event. If you are a survivor or victim of a workplace shooting, who is liable for the emotional and physical trauma that such an event leaves behind?
Is Your Employer Liable to Pay for Damages?
OSHA has a General Duty clause that states that each employer, “shall furnish to each of his employee's employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”
Although there is no official standard in place for workplace violence, it can be determined that the employer potentially knew that ex or current employee (or spouse of an employee) had violent tendencies and that there was the potential for violence in the workplace. They may be liable, for example, if they hired an employee who had a violent past that they failed to find out about because there was no background check. They could also be liable if they fired an employee and failed to take up their ID badge, keys, or uniform that allowed them to access the building after their employment ended. They could also be liable if the workplace shooter was a stalker or an angry spouse or boyfriend of an employee who forcibly entered the building because of a lack of security.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of workplace violence in Georgia, the employer may be liable for the payment of medical bills, counseling, funeral expenses, and loss of wages. You don’t have to go through this experience alone. Contact the Fry | Goehring at 404-969-1284 to learn more about your rights.