The Legal Side of Private Security: Working through the Maze

The Legal Side of Private Security: Working through the Maze

The Legal Side of Private Security: Working through the Maze

The Legal Side of Private Security: Working through the Maze

Synopsis

Businesses today are confronted with increased tensions in the workplace, pressures by activist groups, and sophisticated means of stealing their tangible and intangible properties. Security- related responses to real or perceived threats have generated considerable legal activity and the results are often confusing and contradictory. Hannon's purpose is to make sense out of these cases by giving an overview of security-related legal exposures, then identifying the rights of the parties involved in varying situations, and analyzing the methods different courts use in balancing those rights.

Excerpt

The tensions between an employer's right to run a business in a profitable way and an individual's rights to do his or her own thing have dramatically increased over the past decade. Numerous articles have chronicled various aspects of these forces in conflict. In the interest of becoming more competitive, employers have cut their workforces. Employee loyalty has eroded in reaction to loss of job security. Industrial espionage has created a shortcut to technical advancement. A "what's in it for me" mentality has altered old value systems. Drugs have entered the workplace. Employee theft has increased.

Employers have responded to increasing threats to profit margins and safety by increasing security measures. Drug-sniffing dogs, undercover agents, cameras, searches, and physical and psychological testing have become part of their defensive programs. Individuals have responded to perceived excesses by both challenging them directly in court and getting new legislation passed to make them illegal.

Hundreds of cases reflecting these conflicts have been reported out of numerous judicial systems including federal, state, and local courts, private dispute resolution, and administrative agencies. In processing such cases, courts have interpreted a maze of laws including constitutional mandates, criminal and civil statutes, the National Labor Relations Act, the Civil Rights Act, and arbitration decisions. The results sometimes appear contradictory and often shed more shadow than light. For example, it might be proper under state trespassing laws to have union handbillers removed from private property, but that action might be a violation of the National Labor Relations Act. A locker search conducted by a law . . .

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