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According to the U.S. Department of Justice, each year an estimated 1.7 million employees are the victims of violent crimes committed in the workplace. Despite employer’s claims of workers’ compensation immunity, such acts of violence form the basis for successful suits against employers for various torts, such as negligent hiring or retention, assault, battery, and false imprisonment.

Employers have been held directly and vicariously liable for acts of violence committed by or against their employees and third parties. Victims of these acts can recover compensatory and punitive damages directly from the employer. It behooves employers to be aware of the liability traps into which they can fall when they fail to take the necessary steps to create and promote a safe environment for both their employees and third parties.

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