By now, it’s understandable that many people are frustrated by the COVID-19 precautions, protocols and general disruption of daily life. Many wish to return to the way things were pre-pandemic. However, one local woman was so disgruntled by the pandemic policies at the Buckhead Chick-Fil-A that she attacked employees.
On January 25, 2021, a woman tried to enter the Chick-Fil-A located on Roswell Road in Buckhead, Georgia. She was informed that the dining room was closed due to the company’s COVID-19 policy but she wouldn’t leave willingly, so employees forced her out of the building and assumed she had left.
However, she then pulled up to the drive-thru window in her white Chrysler sedan, accompanied by 2 other women.
“The females began to scream at the employees at the location, however none of the statements could be remembered by the employees,” an Atlanta police officer said in the report. “The females attempted to climb through the drive-thru window, but (were) stopped by employees.”
At this point, the employees locked all the windows and doors. But this is not the end of the story.
After the incident, a cell phone video of the events surfaced on Instagram. The video depicts the driver banging on the closed window of the Chick-Fil-A while masked employees inside were scrambling. Next, a woman is seen picking up an object and throwing it at the window as employees backed away.
According to the police report, the women had grabbed cement bricks and hurled them at the window in an attempt to gain entry. Thankfully, for the sake of the employees, the window didn’t shatter completely, but it was noticeably cracked.
Police were called, but the women had left by the time they arrived.
Is workplace violence covered under workers’ compensation in Georgia?
Thankfully, in this scenario, no one was injured. But if this story had played out differently, would the injured Chick-Fil-A employees be eligible for workers’ compensation?
Here’s how Georgia law handles workplace violence.
First, in order to be compensable, the injuries resulting from the assault must have occurred in the scope and course of employment. This is the same for all workers’ compensation claims, but there is a slight difference here. If a personal dispute spills over into workplace violence, it may not be covered.
For instance, if an ex-girlfriend approaches an individual who is working and attacks them on the job, it will probably not be covered because the incident didn’t arise out of the employment; rather, it was personal in nature.
The second issue is that the injured worker must not have been the aggressor in the incident. If an individual attempts to harm a coworker by attacking them and is hurt in the process, then they are not eligible for recovery under the state’s workers’ compensation statute.
The aggressor isn’t necessarily the one who attacks first. The individual who caused the incident is deemed to be the aggressor. If one person uses “fighting words” against their coworker, they might be determined to be the aggressor.
Workplace violence claims are complicated and rely on specific details of each case. For this reason, it’s important that you have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side. At Gerber & Holder Law, we have many years of training and experience in this area of Georgia law. We’re ready to fight for your rights.