My wife and I work for an organization that provides housing for people with disabilities. The client after getting home from work was angry and started yelling at my wife in the dining room as I got up to see what was wrong he started yelling at myself and as I tried to calm him down he stepped forward and hit me with a closed fist, at that time he raised his fist again as to him me once more or my wife who was standing next to me, I in reaction hit him in an attempt to get him to stop. He was removed from our house and we (my wife and I) were terminated.
Are there laws that say I have the right to protect myself and or my wife?
Also why was my wife terminated if she was an innocent bystander?
3 Answers from Attorneys
You can be terminated at any time for any reason as long as it is not illegal discrimination, such as based on race or gender. So right or wrong there was nothing illegal about terminating you.
Sure, you are entitled to claim you were trying to 'protect yourself', but I wouldn't be surprised to see you charged with criminal assault and abuse under these circumstances. People certified and working in care facilities are supposed to be able to handle their job and their wards without 'incident', and certainly without hitting them. You're probably going to need an attorney.
Why she was terminated is irrelevant, but obvious, as she was an 'at will' employee that can be disciplined or terminated any time for any reason, with or without ‘cause’, explanation or notice. More to the point, she was 'involved' in some manner in this incident, which led to the 'hitting'.
You and your wife can file a worker's compensation claim for all physical and psychiatric injuries you both suffered. If a doctor found you and your wife unable to work, you may even receive temporary disability benefits. Feel free to call us at 213.388.7070 for a free consultation.