Company sued for not protecting worker from ex-boyfriend

In a recent case in Missouri, a woman left work and got in her minivan in the parking lot to go home, only to find that her estranged boyfriend was hiding in the back with a gun. They had an argument and he shot her, causing a serious injury. She sued her employer, arguing that better security measures could have prevented the incident.

It turned out that a different employee had been kidnapped from the same parking lot a decade earlier, and in response, the company installed security cameras around the property. However, the company later disregarded advice to reposition the cameras to provide better coverage.

The company also apparently had a policy of providing workers with escorts to their cars if they were worried about their safety, and had allowed another employee who was afraid of her ex-spouse to park in a special visitor’s spot that could be seen from the reception desk.

However, the woman in this case claimed that even though she had told the human resources department about her fears of her ex-boyfriend that very day (she’d seen him earlier in the day at a court hearing regarding her restraining order against him), HR didn’t assign someone to monitor the security cameras, didn’t provide a picture of the ex-boyfriend to the security team, didn’t offer her a special parking spot, and didn’t inform her of the possibility of an escort to her car.

A jury awarded millions of dollars to the woman, finding that the company hadn’t met its legal duty to provide a safe work environment.