Preliminary reporting by the U.S.bureau of Labor Statistics for 2010-2011 states that there were 458 homicides in the workplace nationwide. 22 of those work fatalities were in Nevada and were caused by violent co-workers, employers or others. However, not all violent deaths or injuries that happen at work are covered under workers’ compensation insurance.
An employee who is the victim of workplace violence by a co-worker, employer or a deranged stranger may or may not have a compensable claim, depending on whether the injury or death arose out of and in the course and scope of employment. Just because an injury or death occurs at the workplace does not mean that it is compensable as a workers’ compensation claim.
For example, I received an inquiry by an employee who was physically attacked and injured by her supervisor when she told her supervisor that she was quitting her job. If in fact the supervisor was so enraged by the employee’s resignation at a time when the company was short-staffed, the physical injury to the employee will probably be regarded as work-related. If, instead, the supervisor’s attack on the employee was caused by the employee dating the supervisor’s boyfriend, then it can’t be said that the work injury arose out of and in the course and scope of employment.
–Written by Virginia Hunt, Hunt Law Office