A law suit waiting to happen.

In my last posting I talked about employers being vulnerable when it came to law suits for not properly protecting their employees. As a security consultant, I am often asked to advise on ways to protect a client from such exposure. This process is called Risk Managment.

All of us can assume that we face some form of most of the time. A perfect example would be when driving your vehicle. We buy an insurance policy that will pay out in the case of an accident,fire or theft of the vehicle. In this way, we manage that risk. By doing nothing and taking a chance that nothing will ever go wrong, we would be ignoring the risk.

Smart companies and individuals who believe in being proactive, often call upon an experienced security consultant to advise them on how best to protect their assets. When I come across a situation that is so obvious that I am sure that if action is not taken the consequences may prove drastic, I make it a point to bring it to someone’s attention.

One such occassion happened a few years ago at a fitness center. The center operated on a 24 hour basis and it meant that people were coming to exercise at all hours, day and night. I noticed that not only did the center not have any physical security presence, but they did not even have any security cameras. The parking lot was huge – it needed to be to accomodate the many thousands of members.

One day I brought my concerns to one of the senior managers. I made it a point to conduct research prior to asking for a meeting. The research showed many examples of how owners/managers of shopping centers were held liable in a court of law and sued for umpteen millions of dollars when women were raped and assaulted at night in the parking lot after coming out from shopping. The courts held that the management was liable as they did not provide any security guard or any camera that could have caught the crimes on tape.

I thought that I had provided a great service by bringing the matter to their attention and of course hoped to be chosen to provide the interior and exterior cameras at the facility. The manager did not seem to comprehend the seriousness of the situation and casually mentioned how they had been thinking of putting in two cameras inside the basket ball court where fights broke out sometime!

It therefore did not surprise me to recently hear that the same fitness center was in trouble when it was learned that a married manager was having affairs with a couple of sub-bordinates at the same time. Not only that, but the manager was also having sexual relations with a number of the married members.

What has this to do with Risk Management I hear you ask? Well, it so happens that the manager involved got transferred, not fired mind you, but transferred without any reduction in rank or responsibility. The worse part of this story is that one of the victims, a sub-bordinate who eventually rasied the alarm, was also transferred and advised that if they made a formal complaint that they would be immediately fired. Apparently upper management has no problem with breaking Federal laws since under Federal Law, the victim in a sexual harrassment case can not be penalized for reporting the abuse.

Do these guys need help in managing their risk or what? Actually, I think they are gone way beyond managing their risk. I think they will be in need of a good PR firm. Before that though, they had better find themselves the best attorney that money can buy.

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