If you run a business, you’re probably aware that you have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of people that visit your facility. What you may not be aware of is that this sense of safety also extends to any security guards you may have on the premises and how they how they react to incidents involving visitors.
The Liability Problem
The role of a security guard at any facility is to act as the eyes of the management, observing activities of visitors and making a note of suspicious behavior. However, in the event that something unruly occurs, such as an attempt at theft, or a fight between customers breaking out, then the security guard also acts as the “hand” of management, actively stepping in to restore order and prevent any harm to other visitors.
Security guards can use a certain amount of force to defuse situations or to restrain people that are acting unruly. However, they do not have the legal authority to use extreme violence, and, as such, excessive force is still something that a security guard and/or the facility the guard is working can answer for in a court of law.
The Negligence Issue
The other problem is that sometimes, as with carelessness in other areas of work, a security guard may not perform their expected duties, and if this results in someone receiving an injury, then negligence may be at play. For example, a fight breaks out, and a security guard is present but decides not to do anything for fear of a charge of excessive violence. The fight gets more serious, and eventually, one person has been pushed down a flight of stairs, but the security guard still refuses to act.
In this instance, because the security guard stood by and allowed a person to be injured, this would clearly be a case of negligence. While it’s understandable that a security guard might want to avoid criminal charges for something like assault and battery, not doing anything to assist or prevent an injury from occurring is still an incident that can be held accountable in a court of law through a civil lawsuit.
Don’t Take Shortcuts
If your business benefits from the presence of security guards, try to ensure that the security guards employed are professionals, with appropriate training. Don’t try to save money by simply getting a uniform for an existing member of your staff and have that person pose as a security guard. Real security guards get training in a variety of situations, from deescalating problem situations to responding with appropriate force in a violent incident.
If you find yourself in a situation where a security guard has caused you some legal trouble, don’t try to resolve it yourself. Get some professional advice from personal injury lawyer to see what your premises liability options are.