Everyone has a workplace squabble now and again, but this disagreement between 2 McDonald’s employees quickly escalated.
On Nov. 28th, Atlanta police arrived at the McDonald’s on Northside Drive—in Midtown—around midnight. They discovered 1 employee with a leg injury.
According to their report, 2 workers got into a fight while on the McDonald’s property. A third worker tried to intervene and stop the fight.
After the fight, Destiny Allen (one of the employees) left the building. The coworker who had broken up the fight followed Allen to make sure she was leaving the property.
At this time, Allen put her car in reverse, hit the gas and struck the third worker with her vehicle. The impact caused the employee to fall into one of the window panels of the fast food restaurant.
The injured worker was rushed to a local hospital while the police arrested Allen on charges of aggravated assault and criminal damage to property.
Since the incident happened during work hours and on work property, is the injured McDonalds employee entitled to workers’ comp benefits?
Let’s take a look at how workplace violence plays a role in compensation.
Workplace violence and workers’ comp
There are 2 requirements that must be met for you to qualify for compensation after a workplace violence incident:
- The injuries must have occurred during the scope and course of employment. In other words, it had to be an issue that arose from the job. If someone attacks you for a personal dispute (i.e. cheating with their significant other), then this would not count as an employment injury, even if it happened while at work.
- The injured worker must not be the aggressor. It’s important to note that the aggressor isn’t necessarily the one who attacks first. It’s the person who incites the incident. A lawyer can be helpful in making this important distinction for your case.
Suing a coworker after workplace violence incident
In the McDonald’s case, would the employee who was hit by the car be allowed to sue Allen for her injuries? Again, there are 2 qualifiers that must be met.
- Who was the aggressor? If the injured person was the aggressor, they can’t receive workers’ comp or file for personal injury.
- Was the instigator a coworker? If a coworker was the person who attacked and injured the worker, then O.C.G.A. 34-9-11 applies and the exclusive remedy falls under workers’ compensation. If, however, the individual was not a coworker, then that person can be sued in personal injury tort.
Because the McDonald’s employees were in fact coworkers, the injured worker can’t sue but could file for workers’ compensation from the company.
Workplace violence and workers’ compensation are complicated areas of law and there are a lot of factors at play. If you think you might have a case, it’s in your best interest to reach out to our team at Gerber & Holder Law. We can help fight for your rights as we have years of knowledge and experience on our side.