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Workplace injuries from violence at work can be psychological

More and more incidents of workplace violence are reported in New York and other states. Not all victims of such violence suffer physical workplace injuries. Workplace violence can include abuse that employment laws typically cover such as verbal abuse, property damage, spreading rumors and more.

However, serious psychological injuries can result from the trauma that follows incidents related to anger such as rape, murder and arson — even for workers who are witnesses rather than victims. Although many such events are unanticipated, some warning signs exist. Employees who disrespect authority and handle criticism poorly, as well as those who hold grudges after disciplinary action, may have violent inclinations.

Someone who has temper tantrums, uses profanities and shows excessive levels of emotion may also unexpectedly resort to violence. Other signs are more visible, such as a worker who has obsessive interests in weapons such as firearms and knives, which may warrant a report to supervisors. If a co-worker acts violently against an inanimate object — such as putting a fist through a door — it could be a warning sign of suppressed violent tendencies, and if that person shows an unnatural interest in violent incidents, a report to HR may be fitting.

Workers in New York who are victims of workplace violence are entitled to pursue financial relief for medical expenses resulting from the workplace injuries suffered. Benefits claims may be filed with the workers’ compensation insurance system. However, if the injuries are psychological rather than physical, it may be difficult to prove them being work-related. This is when the experience of a skilled workers’ compensation attorney can be invaluable. A lawyer can obtain the necessary evidence and navigate the administrative and legal proceedings of pursuing workers’ comp benefits.

Source:, “Workplace violence: Know the warning signs“, Dec. 18, 2016

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