Do I have a case to sue my employer for not providing a safe workplace?
Question Details: I work in the emergency department. I was working in the care unit 4 on my computer when a co-worker came into the unit to bring a patient back. He started joking about how he was doing my job for me and went to get a personal belonging's bag to put the patient's stuff in. He playfully threw the bag at me. I thought he had left the care unit and I was sitting on the computer when he came behind me and put a plastic bag over my head and pulled it from behind. I ripped the bag off my head and completely freaked out. I told this co-worker that it was completely unacceptable and he had crossed the line completely. He walked out of the unit laughing even though I was clearly upset. After my charge nurse had talked to him, he texted me but did not apologize and said, "Holy shit it was a prank, I promise". The whole thing is on camera with several witnesses. They did not take any disciplinary actions immediately. Finally, about 2 hours after the incident, they finally sent him home.
No, you can't, for two reasons:
1) You can only sue for actual injuries you suffered or costs you incurred. However, you do not indicate any injuries or costs; hence there is nothing to sue for.
2) An employer is not liable for the criminal conduct--like assault, which is what this technically was--of its employees because that is not part of their jobs or what they are hired to do; it is outside their employment
You could, if you like, file a police report against this former colleague.