Can I Get Sick Pay?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a coworker attack:

A co-worker in my California workplace attacked me. Does workman’s comp pay or sick pay? And also how long can they keep me from work and or can they fire me also!

Signed, Attacked

DearĀ Attacked:

From what little information your query provides, I have the impression that you are not seriously injured but that you have been suspended from work and are worried that you might be fired. My impression might be way off base and if you are indeed seriously injured and were unjustly attacked, I hope that you will recover and be able to return to work soon.Your brief description of being attacked by a co-worker suggests that there were words and conflict that led up to a physical assault and that management in your workplace is now investigating this. Also your question begs for answers that cannot be answered from this distance except with a “Maybe” and “You need to ask the right person or agency.”How long can they keep you from work and/or can they fire you?

Make an appointment with an attorney who deals with matters of compensation and management questions. Generally attorneys will not charge for a half-hour consultation in which you can learn if you have a case; for assault and injury, for compensation during your recovery, and/or firing. An attorney will want to learn what occurred; who, when, where, and how you were attacked, who witnessed it, what injuries resulted, what led up to the attack, your work record, what you have been told by management, etc. Even before calling for an appointment, it would be wise for you to make notes to answer such questions. Some attorneys or their assistants will interview you by phone before making an appointment. Be concise and as accurate as possible and don’t exaggerate when you describe any aspect of this situation to the attorney. If you are seriously injured and/or management has suspended you, an attorney can advise you. Be sure to get in writing what fees an attorney will charge and if she/he will take your case on a contingency basis. These thoughts suggest that you should not think seeking redress through the aid of an attorney is a simple matter.You can do some things on your own such as learning if you can you get comp or sick pay? Call you State’s Department of Labor and ask to speak with someone who deals with such questions. You also can speak with whomever is in charge with Personnel at your workplace. Ask how this attack is being investigated and when you will learn that you can return to work.

Finally, it would be wise not to gossip with others about this situation. Rather use this time off work to reflect on what you might learn from it. What did you do that might have provoked the attack? How did you react to the attack? What is your attitude toward others with whom you work? Are you a complainer and troublemaker? Or are you a cheerleader? Are you just doing what you have to do to get paid? Or are you a committed to doing high quality work? What evidence do you have that you have tried to cut wasted supplies, wasted effort, and wasted time? I hope these thoughts provide guidelines for where you go from here. Feel free to keep us posted on what you learn. My best to you during this time in which you are anxious for answers. Working is not always a walk in the park, but life is short and it is my hope that you might find better days ahead; times in which you might find that working together with hand, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

William Gorden