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
Employers can use this checklist to communicate the importance of data and equipment security to employees by providing them with the proper workplace policies and training.
Updated to reflect the forthcoming Security Breach Protection Amendment Act of 2020.
Updated to reflect a forthcoming amendment to the Vermont Security Breach Notice Act.
Updated to reflect amendments to the state data breach law, effective March 1, 2020.
Updated to reflect amendments to the state data breach law, effective January 1, 2020.
Updated to reflect amendments renaming the data breach law and expanding definitions and notification requirements, effective January 1, 2020.
Updated to reflect amendments clarifying an employer's right to prohibit guns in the workplace, effective November 1, 2019.