So, to cut a long story short. There's an employee I work with that has stolen money and property multiple times, and that has created a hostile environment for the rest of us via the use of intimidation and threats of violence. However, our HR have their hands tied regarding any form of further discipline due to our country's laws, and his threat of a lawsuit if he is ever fired. Some employees have decided to see if they can not provoke, more trick, him into losing his cool (he has a history of a foul temperament) and attack a colleague physically, ergo providing HR a credible excuse to finally fire him, and protect themselves at the same time. The main part of the plan is not to involve the cops, as we have no intention of causing unnecessary hassle, we just want rid of him. Would such an action be illegal under law?

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    What jurisdiction? – dsolimano May 22 '18 at 18:58
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    "our HR have their hands tied regarding any form of further discipline due to our country's laws," I am highly skeptical of this claim. There is almost no place where clear evidence of theft is not valid grounds for discharge from employment without facing a threat of a successful lawsuit. Proving that this happened clearly would be a far more constructive approach. – ohwilleke May 22 '18 at 19:10

In the United States, many jurisdictions have criminal offenses outlawing behavior that may include what you're describing here.

In Ohio, for instance, disorderly conduct (R.C. 2917.11) includes "insulting, taunting, or challenging another, under circumstances in which that conduct is likely to provoke a violent response."

In Indiana, there's the offense of provocation (IC 35-42-2-3), which is even broader and includes "recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally [engaging] in conduct that is likely to provoke a reasonable person to commit battery." It looks like this has been interpreted to include even actions that don't directly involve the provoked person, such as kissing another man's wife.

Beyond the criminal offense, there are also jurisdictions that will permit a civil suit for damages resulting from the criminal act. There are also states where this could constitute intentional interference with business relations or intentional interference with an employment contract. In any of those cases, your co-workers could be looking at damages for lost wages, loss of reputation, etc.

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    The outrageous conduct, or intentional infliction of emotional distress torts come to mind as well. – ohwilleke May 22 '18 at 19:07
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    I was wondering about that. My first thought was that provocation doesn't rise to the "so extreme that no reasonable person could be expected to bear it" standard, but now that I'm forced to write it out, I guess that's actually a pretty good description of provocation. – bdb484 May 22 '18 at 19:09

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