Many employees expect their employers to take reasonable actions to keep them safe on the job, especially when interacting with customers/clients. Keeping the premises safe and secure from hazardous conditions and individuals is not as easy as it may seem, especially when working with the public. 

Though there are rules, policies and expectations in place for employee conduct, especially fighting, hitting and mistreating coworkers and customers, what governs the actions of employers when self-defense or fighting back is necessary? You were doing your job when you were suddenly let go for doing what seemed like common sense. Now, you wonder if you have a wrongful termination claim. 

If you work for an at-will employer, chances are, your employer has a zero-tolerance policy for physical altercations. If so, you may find it unfair that you are dealing with the above circumstances. 

One possible claim you can use against your employer is discrimination. Some employers give certain workers preferential treatment over others. For example, a supervisor gives one worker special treatment instead of reprimanding him or her for previously assaulting a customer. If the reprimanded worker can prove her or his boss did not provide a protected class individual the same treatment, that worker may have a valid discrimination/wrongful termination claim

Proving an employer violated the law or did not uphold contractual obligations is not easy. However, it is the basis of many wrongful termination claims across the country. So is discrimination. It is essential for you to learn your employment rights to protect yourself. Wrongful terminations happen every day. Though you may be an at-will employee, the employer is not always right. 

Many different situations can occur where physically protecting yourself from harm could put your job in jeopardy. In addition to knowing your employment rights, keep documentation on every potential incident, and follow proper HR reporting procedures. You may also benefit from an attorney’s guidance.