Being sued over security – or lack thereof
March 22, 2013
In today’s litigious society there are many things for a business to be worried about; bad products & employees, defective supply’s, do people have the money to afford your product? And then of course there is being sued, cash flow, overhead, expenses, and bad management. Any one of these or a myriad of other reasons can put you into bankruptcy and out of business quickly. And then you and your employees are out of luck.
And while I can’t assist any business owner or manager with those issues, there is one area I can help. That is in security. And the business security, even for larger corporations, many times is simply a mere afterthought and not considered an issue. That can be a big mistake for them. And not paying attention to your security can cost you so much more in the long run.
Your first line of defense in security is both your receptionist/front desk person and your human resources department. Yes HR can play a huge part in the security of your company and potentially stop anything from happening. I’m not talking about them being the ones that your service report too either.
So let’s take a look at the 3 main ways in which you can be sued over your security program or lack thereof;
Yes, hiring the wrong person can literally put you and your company out of business. We’ve all heard the stories of companies being sued because they hired someone who did this or did that. But of all of those incidents, how many times have we heard about security issues in it? Probably none.
Hiring the wrong individual can put your entire organization at risk. How you ask? In ways you may not have thought. If you hire someone with a violent past and they assault a co-worker, then you’re on the hook. Add to this the potential for someone to be blackmailed into stealing or allowing you to be stolen from, WPV, and such you can see the problem.
And if you employ someone that has had problems at other jobs, then you open yourself up to being sued also. Problems such as making threats, actual assaults on co-workers, verbally abusing customers, throwing a ‘hissy’ fit, and similar can take you into court and not just civil.
It is fortunate that in Arizona, there is a law that allow employers to inform potential new employers the bad information about a current or former employee, as long as it is given truthfully and without malice. Many employers still don’t do this, because it’s easier to just say ‘no re-hire’ than go into detail and defend the company in court.
Do you have security officers at your site? If not, is any ne responsible for locking doors, turning on lights, and ensuring that everything is secure? If not, then you may have another huge issue on your hands. And one that may get you sued.
In most cases of WPV and in many other cases in which someone is assaulted, the charge of inadequate is leveled at the company. If a tenant is assaulted in an apartment complex and the gates are broken, then you will get sued.
Likewise, if the maintenance department leaves a ladder propped against the building and a burglar gets in and commits a burglary and/or an assault, you can also rest assured that you’ll be sued as well.
Inadequate security also extends to not having security officers, alarms, surveillance, and other devices in the area to protect them. And you have to believe that dummy cameras, or other such simulated devices, are not the answer! They can and will, open you up to more lawsuits than you might expect.
The ONLY way to avoid to being sued over inadequate security is ensure that you have a physical security program in place and it’s a strong one. That takes in a lot of space and time, but in the long run it’ll be worth it.
Lastly, another area that falls into this arena is training. If the individuals responsible for security in your business, whether they be officers, guards, or a regular employee who’s charged with it, doesn’t know what they’re doing then you could be in deep. These people have to be trained in proper techniques or they’re worthless and can get you sued.
If you have an employee that is being bullied, harassed, threatened, or actually assaulted and they have informed the supervisor/manager and nothing has been done, then here is your 3rd way of being sued. This lack of supervision can take several forms as well.
- The supervisor not being around when they are supposed to be
- Not following up on complaints about the above incidents
- Not stopping the above issues if observed
- Joining in with the harassment or bullying
- Not following up with security issues
- Maintenance issues that may cause problems
- Personnel or personal problems with employees
And those are just a few of the reasons that you can be sued over inadequate supervision. I have no doubt that there are innumerable more, but I won’t go into them here.
Today’s Training LLC is able to assist you in avoiding being sued over these issues. Give us a call at 480-251-5197 for a consultation.