Sexual assault crimes within the workplace can take many forms. Often, this crime is viewed as the actual commission of the assault. Although this is one form employers can be guilty of sexual assault in a number of situations, including a failure to adequately protect employees from this form of violence.
A recent case is highlighting how an employer can be held accountable in these situations.
What are the facts of the case? The case involves a company which provides in home health care services. The company was accused of failing to follow proper protocol regarding sexual assault. This failure put employees at risk and led to the sexual assault of one of the nurse's who was visiting and caring for a patient within the patient's home.
What protocols were violated? The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have certain requirements that must be followed to better ensure an employee is safe in the workplace. The requirements at issue are designed to reduce the risk of sexual assault in the workplace.
In this case, the PennRecord reports that the employer is accused of violating the General Duty Clause. This clause requires many things, including that an employer protect employees and avoid putting employees at risk for sexual assault.
The company is also accused of failing to put in place a policy that would handle these incidents.
What remedies are available to victims? In this instance, the employee reported the violation to OSHA. OSHA then conducted an investigation and fined the company close to $100,000 for the violations.
This is only one of the remedies available to victims. Victims can also pursue a civil suit to further hold the employer accountable for these violations. Such an action would likely result in a monetary award to the victim as well as provide an additional avenue to hold the employer responsible for failing to protect the victim.