A worker's injury that results from an assault is not compensable unless the assault arises out of his employment. The employment connection is satisfied if it is shown that the type of work or the setting in which it is performed increased the worker's risk of assault. For example, occupations that may carry a higher risk of assault due to their very nature are police officer, prison guard, and security guard, to name a few. Further, employees who work in a dangerous area of a city or who work at night may also be at an increased risk for assault.
If the catalyst for the assault was an argument arising out of or concerning the work, the necessary employment connection will be established. Consider the employee who assaults his supervisor after the supervisor terminates the employee's position with the company. Another example would be the employee who is assaulted in connection with a labor strike.
Some courts will deny compensation if the injured worker initiated the aggression. Additionally, compensation may be denied if there has been a cooling-off period between the initial aggression and a subsequent aggressive act that results in the employee's injury. Compensation is also unlikely when the assault is motivated by personal animosity outside the workplace, such as that which spills over from the employee's private life.
Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.