If you are in a multi-tenant building, what is your liability if your tenant is responsible for managing their employees' building access?
In a situation where tenants are responsible for managing their employees' building access on an individual basis, the property owner would most likely not be liable for a security issue with those systems. That being said, the building owner still has a duty to provide security for the common areas of the building that addresses "foreseeable" risks. As discussed in the webinar, the term "foreseeable" can be subjective and is defined by courts on a case-by-case basis.
We hired a 3rd party security company. Does the risk fall on them, or am I legally protected with my contract?
Hiring a third party security firm can help to protect a property owner from negligent security claims, but it is ultimately up to the terms of the contract as to which entity is responsible for what. We would expect both parties to be named in a lawsuit, and then the scope of the agreement would come into play. We recommend that our clients work closely with their security vendors on an integrated security and workplace violence prevention plan.
When an employee is experiencing a domestic violence situation - and the employer becomes aware of the situation - what is the employer's responsibility to protect the employee?
The short answer is that employers should talk with their legal counsel to account for employer legal obligations that include considerations like the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), state anti-discrimination laws and time off for victims. Unfortunately, national statistics tell us 25% of women and 10% of men have been a victim of severe physical violence, which means employers are very likely to experience an intimate partner violence situation or threat at some point. The ASIS/SHRM co-authored American National Standard on workplace violence specifically identifies the need for "strategies specific to intimate partner violence". Also, remember that a threat of domestic violence coming to the workplace creates risk for all of your other employees, tenants, customers and visitors, so having a plan and strategy in place is important.