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When gender-based violence at work causes harm

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Most U.S. employees are aware that if they get hurt on the job due to an accident, or even a chronic condition caused by work-related circumstances, they likely qualify for workers’ compensation benefits as a result of the harm they’ve suffered. But, what if job-related harm is caused by the violence of a co-worker, vendor, client or even a stranger?

Thankfully, workers’ comp does often cover harm caused by work-related violence, including gender-based violence. It is, therefore, important for victims of this kind of mistreatment to understand that they may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits in the aftermath of violence related to work, in addition to possible civil damages and potential victim-related compensation opportunities afforded by the criminal justice system and/or state-based victim compensation programs.

Gender-based violence in the construction industry: An illustrative example

The Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently hosted a conversation about the prevalence of gender-based violence and harassment in the construction industry. While construction is certainly not the only industry in which these forms of gender-based mistreatment occur, it is understood that women in this industry are at a higher risk for harm in this regard, partially because of the male-dominated and highly physical nature of their jobs.

During the conversation, the director of the Women’s Bureau Director observed that a male-dominated culture in construction inspires greater risks than average for “a range of unacceptable behaviors, practices or threats directed at persons because of their sex or gender.”

It can be tough to file for workers’ comp benefits, perhaps especially when the harm in question was caused as a result of gender-based targeting in an industry that is dominated by the opposite gender. Nevertheless, it is important for victims of workplace violence to seek the benefits that they’re due in order to better enable them to heal and move forward in ways that don’t burden them financially due to the ignorant behavior of others.