He tells you the name of the drug. You check and verify that Fred (1 ) has a diagnosed condition that is real (2) that is treated by use of the medication he disclosed (3) and that most persons are not prone to violence as long as they consistently take their pill. Explain the potential liability to Fred if you terminate him because of your fears he might snap. Explain the potential liability to co-workers and the public if you don’t. I’ve attached a white paper below which you might find helpful – or at least will give you some perspective on workplace violence.
ANSWER: When managing a company it has to be understood and made clear by management to the owner that you will absorb risks. The more employees you have increases the likelihood of liability issues within the organization. Just about any mishaps or errors resulting in injury while in the workplace can leave management open for civil liability. Some courts have been known to hold the employers liable for injuries that their personnel sustained from other employees. It does not stop there however; liability can also include injuries sustained from customers also.
In many ways an employer may feel that he/she is not responsible for the actions of their employees but in most cases based on the law that is not an accurate belief. There are also laws that specifically state that employers are legally responsible for their employees’ actions. There are even some employers who are liable for their employees’ actions off duty also. In the case of Fred although he volunteered his private health information to his employer (after he was hired) that in no way mitigates the fact that his actions/negligence caused the injury in the first place.
As such, his employment at the organization can be trumped up to be a double edged sword. If Fred is terminated there is a liability factor involved if he “snaps” and goes out and hurts someone as a result however to maintain him as an employee also opens the company up for liability issues should he injure a coworker. The potential for a violent act may escalate if, as a result of his or her conduct, the employee then faces the stress of termination, demotion, other disciplinary action, or is made to feel devalued (for example, by being harshly reprimanded by a supervisor).
Andersen, T. (2005). Workplace Violence Prevention. Advanced Security Worldwide, 19-19. If an employee injures a coworker while acting within the boundaries of his/her duty that coworker may not be able to sue your company. That coworker may be able to draw a workman compensation claim to receive payment for the time away from work. In some cases employees can sometimes sue if their injuries were caused by their employers’ misconduct; however that may not be the case if they are hurt by another employee who is simply doing his or her job.