El Dorado is here to help protect your security firm against liability problems with both our customizable policies, and periodic advice about the current state of the industry. That includes warnings about what not to do, and specifically actions that security guards should avoid. The wrong decision can lead to lawsuits, loss of reputation, and other expensive problems. Unfortunately, we’ve already seen security guards act poorly in 2023, creating some massive problems for their security companies.
The good news is that this gives us plenty of material to show what not to do out on the job! Make sure your guards aren’t making mistakes like these – please.
Opening Fire at a Crowded Sports Bar
El Paso police recently arrested a security guard on charges of unlawfully carrying a weapon and shooting the gun eight times during an altercation with a man at a local sports bar (a bar with the security firm in question provided services). The man was hit by one of the shots. It’s currently unclear if the guard was on duty at the time of the incident, which security firms may not think is fair. However, news stories about shootings will typically include whatever information is available, and if the shooter works as a security guard, that’s sure to be mentioned regardless of what details are later revealed. Even if this guard was off duty at the time of the shooting, it still reflects very poorly on the firm’s reputation.
This is also a reminder that, if your security guards carry a firearm, they should always have proper licensing for it. This particular case could have turned out worse if the man shot had been killed or if one of the other bullets had hit people nearby, but the single injury from the shooting was not life-threatening.
Kneeling on a 12-Year-Old’s Neck
A federal lawsuit has been filed against an off-duty police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following conduct in a school altercation. The guard was working at a middle school in the area when an altercation resulted in the guard restraining a 12-year-old girl by kneeling on her neck. Her father sued, claiming that the girl has suffered a traumatic brain injury and associated distress.
Several important points about this tragic incident. First, security guards should not use any type of chokehold in their line of work, especially an act as infamously dangerous as kneeling on someone’s neck. Second, school security guards are becoming more common, and with that security guards must understand that they are dealing with children, and that use of force can be an even more problematic approach. Third, while hiring off-duty police officers can have some advantages, it may also create risks that security firms should be aware of.
Sexually Harassing Students
In another school-related case, a security guard was fired and charged with inappropriate behavior after recording students in a sexual act and then asking a 16-year student for a similar sexual act himself. This is obviously an extreme case of behavior a security guard should never participate in, but the general lesson is true for all guards: Avoid even the possible appearance of sexual harassment while working and treat everyone with respect. Security guards should not be abusing their authority in any way.
Assaulting a Bar Patron
A shift at a local pub can be very demanding. Patrons can be drunk, obnoxious, oblivious to the rules, and a danger to themselves or others. But security guards should work to avoid using force against patrons at all times, unlike this Australian guard who apparently grabbed a bargoer by the neck, pushed him against a wall until he went limp, and let him collapse onto the ground. Actions like that can easily be interpreted as assault and lead to lawsuits, fines, and charges. Also, they tend to make clients very angry, as it gives their establishment a bad name.
Potentially Hitting a Woman with a Stray Bullet During Gunfire
This complicated case shows just why it’s important for security guards to use judgment and restraint – and always call law enforcement in the case of serious danger. Technically, the guard used his firearm as could be expected: They escorted the suspected shooter from a building, and the suspect returned to the building later on and opened fire on it. However, in the ensuing firefight, a bullet appears to have struck a nearby woman. It’s still uncertain how this case will turn out, but incidents like these can drastically raise the risk of a lawsuit, even if the security guard acted in an understandable way.
Advertising Drugs While On Duty at a Concert
Just…don’t let this happen.
Remember, liability insurance can help pay for legal difficulties if your company is sued because of a mistake that a security guard made. However, liability policies do have limitations. If you’re worried about a specific situation, talk to your agent or contact us and ask for more information. We’ll help you understand exactly what sort of protection your liability insurance will offer, and how you can augment it to control certain risks. Otherwise, make sure your guards are trained to avoid major fiascos like these.