Overview: Workplace security is a broad term referring to numerous security issues an employer might face, ranging from technological to property security. It includes ensuring that both trade secrets and physical property stay with the employer as well as protecting employees from physical altercations, shootings or terrorists acts, among others. It also includes natural and manmade disasters, such as chemical explosions or blizzards. When an employer knows all of its security risks, it can take steps to eliminate them or mitigate the damage of any that occur in the workplace.
To secure the work environment, the first step is to evaluate and determine the risks that affect that particular workplace. Every workplace is different and has different realistic threats. For example, a retail store needs to recognize robbery as a potential risk more than a private office building does. Knowing the risks for the individualized work area is critical to preparing security measures.
Once the risks are known, comprehensive plans can be made to protect the employer against each likely event. Then, employers should plan drills and tests to make sure the plans work and that employees understand what they are supposed to do. Having plans for different events and testing those plans helps create sound security processes.
Trends: Parking lot laws allow employees in certain states to keep guns in their locked cars while on employer property. These laws generally do not require an employer to allow employees to bring guns into the workplace, but may require the employer to post signs or provide other notice.
Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, JD, Legal Editor
Updated to reflect forthcoming law regarding employee inventions.
Updated to include retaliation protections in the domestic violence leave law, effective January 1, 2018.
Updated to include amendments to laws related to firearms in the workplace, effective November 1, 2017.
Updated to reflect amendments relating to the employees' right to store firearms in their vehicles on employer property, effective July 31, 2017.
Updated to reflect the ability of employees in Arkansas to store firearms in their vehicles on employer property, effective July 31, 2017.
Arkansas employers wishing to limit or prohibit weapons in the workplace should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Updated to reflect new data breach notification requirements, effective July 1, 2017.
Updated to reflect a forthcoming amendment to the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act.
Updated to reflect state's new Data Breach Notification Act, effective June 16, 2017.