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Co-worker brought a knife to work

On Lawyer & Legal » Employment & Labor Law

7,559 words with 11 Comments; publish: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 11:55:00 GMT; (80046.88, « »)

The state is:

I Live in WV but this happened in PA...

We were joking around, she flipped me off (jokingly), I said "I know how to handle people like you" (jokingly). Next week she brings a switch blade knife and mace and said that she brought them to work to defend hersef against me. Nothing happened, but this lady is a little nutts and I dont feel safe working with her. Our employer is trying to sweep it under the rug and is forcing me to continue working with her. Im so uncomfortable with the situation, it has brought undue stress to my work enviroment and I have begun looking for a new job even though I enjoy the one I have and would rather not quit if I dont have to. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    • If your employer is the federal government or you work for a contractor at a federal government installation, your report should be to the Federal Protective Service.

      I seriously doubt that a federal agency is going to terminate a contract because one of the contractor's employees is reported to have had a switchblade in her possession.

      #1; Mon, 21 Jan 2008 11:51:00 GMT
    • However, whatever you or I or Hot Topic might think, they are not required to fire her for bringing a knife to work; they are not required to tell you what action they take; they are not required by law to take any action at all. If you are "uncomfortable" enough to want to quit, then quit. The law is not going to force them to fire her to make you comfortable.
      #2; Sun, 20 Jan 2008 15:48:00 GMT
    • You are still missing the point.

      Making a poor business decision is not illegal. Nor does the fact that the knife may have been illegally possessed require them to fire her.

      It is STILL 100% up to the employer what, if any, discipline she receives, and they have NO obligation whatsoever to inform you what, if any, action they took.

      #3; Sun, 20 Jan 2008 17:46:00 GMT
    • What did the joking around consist of?
      #4; Sat, 19 Jan 2008 12:37:00 GMT
    • I'm glad that she got her comeuppance.

      And I'm happy to know that you'll be careful in future what you say to people. I remember teasing an employee about I can't remember what years ago. The employee came into work limping. He claimed it was the result of a sports related accident. Turns out he had murdered a woman who was acting as his sponsor (he'd been in prison). The thinking was that he hurt his leg dumping her body in a ditch.

      #5; Fri, 25 Jan 2008 23:11:00 GMT
    • She didn't start the "joking." You did when you made your train comment after she told you she was going to take a break in order to smoke. When she flipped you off, that should have been a warning to shut your mouth, but for some reason, you regarded it as a challenge and felt it necessary to make things worse by responding that you knew how to "handle" people like her.

      I think they should fire her for bringing a knife to work. I'm inclined to think that they should get rid of you, too. Your discomfort is of your own making. On your next job, accept that personal decisions people make, such as stopping smoking and then starting again, are none of your business. Keep your thoughts and taunts to yourself.

      #6; Sun, 20 Jan 2008 12:57:00 GMT
    • Hot Topic is correct in stating that I should keep my comments to myself. I have already learned my lesson and will in the future keep everything on a professional basis. Unfortunately, our employer encourages us to "get to know each other" on a personal basis to allow for a more comfortable atmosphere. We had joked about many things in the past including her smoking and I did not see this comment as a stretch. Apart from what has happened, she did bring a switchblade knife and mace in to a client site and clearly stated that it was just in case anything happened between her and I. Switchblades are Illegal plain and simple. I'm not asking that she be fired, just not working on the same site as I. Also, it would be a poor business decision not to move her to another site. The scenario of her stabbing another co-worker when the company had full knowledge of the worker having possession of the ILLEGAL weapon would place the company in a bad situation.

      BTW, below is the section referring to Switchblade knives being illegal... (I have read the exceptions and she does not qualify)

      CITE 15 USC Sec. 1243 01/24/94




      HEAD Sec. 1243. Manufacture, sale, or possession within specific

      jurisdictions; penalty

      STATUTE Whoever, within any Territory or possession of the United States,

      within Indian country (as defined in section 1151 of title 18), or

      within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the

      United States (as defined in section 7 of title 18), manufactures,

      sells, or possesses any switchblade knife, shall be fined not more

      than $2,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

      SOURCE (Pub. L. 85-623, Sec. 3, Aug. 12, 1958, 72 Stat. 562.)

      #7; Sun, 20 Jan 2008 16:42:00 GMT
    • Again, you are correct. I have let my employer know that the knife is illegal and they will be making their decisions within the next few days. Fortunately, I'm in a highly competitive market and jobs for me are a dime a dozen. If they can me, fine. I would not want to work for a company that will support someone as crazy as this lady anyway. Even though the company does not have to fire her because she brought an illegal weapon to work, the police WILL have to respond to a report made about someone bringing an illegal weapon to work and threatening a coworker with it. That, my friend, IS illegal and I'll let them work it out with the authorities. In the future, I will follow this path. Even though my employer is not the police, it is a government agency that requires a secret clearance to enter the building. In order to salvage the relationship between my company and the client, I did not inform them of the situation. If they found out, I'm positive the repercussions would be far more severe including the loss of the client. Thanks for the information provided.


      #8; Sun, 20 Jan 2008 23:34:00 GMT
    • Unless your employer is the police, your employer can't physically stop her from bringing a switchblade to work. However, you or your employer may, at your/its discretion, notify the police that she has an illegal switchblade in her posession. I would advise against going behind your employer's back to notify the police - your employment situation could go steadily downhill if you do something your employer hasn't reviewed and approved. I recommend instead that you tell your employer that the switchblade is illegal (it's quite possible your employer simply isn't aware of this) and suggest that your employer contact the police about it. And nothing more.
      #9; Sun, 20 Jan 2008 16:50:00 GMT
    • She had been trying to quit smoking and she said that she was going to take a smoke break. I said "back on the train again huh" and she then flipped me off and said "Like my salute?". I then replied with "I know how to handle people like you". We were both laughing and it was very clear that we were both joking. Especially since she started the joking.
      #10; Sat, 19 Jan 2008 13:20:00 GMT
    • **Update..**

      The lady in question has been canned. My boss took it very seriously. He asked her about the knife directly and she told him that I was not telling the truth. So, he contacted the client and they confirmed that she was showing others and claiming that it was to use on me if anyting went down. This prompted an investigation into her background and turns out that she lied on 50% of her resume (My boss could have done a better job of this before she was hired).

      #11; Fri, 25 Jan 2008 22:40:00 GMT