No provocation on my part, my boss began yelling at me and then hit me twice in the face. No injuries but later in the day he (nicely) informed me that we were ending our professional relationship and I would no longer work for him. What recourse might I have?
There were witnesses.
Just trying to gather information as we will be discussing a severance package and I'm wondering how much I should ask for.
The fact that you did not suffer any lasting physical injuries may detract from the degree of criminal assault that occurred, but it does not detract from the fact that, based on the facts set forth in your posting, a criminal assault took place. Employees have few enough rights without your being forced to believe that you surrender your dignity when you walk through the doors of your workplace. If you were assaulted at work, you should contact law enforcement authorities.
The fact that you have witnesses (assuming, obviously, that they are willing to corroborate your story) will simplify the process and help to establish your credibility.
I doubt very much that your reportage of a crime will affect the severance package that you will be negotiating (unless, of course, it is your boss who will do the negotiating on behalf of the company). In fact, it may help to buttress your position.
Good luck to you.
Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.
You should contact an employment attorney immediately. You can find an attorney at www.cela.org
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What you describe is clearly an assault. I would advise you to contact an attorney before you negotiate a severance package or take any other actions (such as contacting the police). An attorney who understands the position of your boss within the company and who has access to witnesses of the incident (and who may uncover evidence of other incidents with other employees or other improper conduct) can best advise you and/or negotiate a severance. My office handled a similar case in which the assault was much more severe, but for which there were no witnesses. A little investigation established incidents with other employees which not only helped to corroborate our client's story but also increased the settlement value of her case.
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