By the nature of the business, security companies are in situations that can produce liability complications. When a firm takes on an account, its purpose it to protect legitimate interests from bad actors. How can a company keep its interactions with these bad actors from resulting in a lawsuit?
There are two good answers: Competent hiring practices and a clear detention policy.
This may seem like stating the obvious but a thorough, formal application process is the first step toward limiting liability risks. Some security contractors are bound by regulatory requirements, but those requirements should guide hiring practices whether they are required or not.
A ruthless hiring process will help companies weed out candidates who are unable to handle not only the routine of security work but also the moments that require split-second decisions.
The first step is a formal background check that includes a criminal history check, a credit check, drug screening, verification of previous employment and education, and a motor vehicle records check. All personal and professional references should be thoroughly vetted.
Don’t be afraid to add physical, psychological and polygraph tests to the drug test regimen.
In addition to an initial interview, a second interview with a field supervisor can reveal potential red flags.
It goes without saying that armed personnel need to be certified by all appropriate regulatory agencies.
Security personnel have no more authority to detain a suspect than any other unauthorized citizen, but because they are often wearing a uniform and are stationed at a choke point of activity, they are put in a position of enforcing laws.
However, taking action opens the company to claims of false arrest or assault. That’s why security firms should instruct employees to only observe and report all activity.
Personnel should not try to stop anyone or use force to detain anyone. Companies should not arm their employees with anything that could be used to stop or detain, including Mag-lite, mace or zip ties.
By taking these actions, security companies can avoid litigation and, if sued, can potentially reduce their exposure to a liability claim by showing they took action to avoid problems.