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Protecting Your Most Valuable Assets - Humans

Kelly Moore
August 31, 2023

In a world characterized by socio-political turbulence and civil unrest, ensuring the safety and well-being of employees has become a paramount concern for businesses and organizations. Civil disturbances, including protests, demonstrations, and even riots, can pose significant risks to employees and their workplaces. Employers have a moral and legal obligation to proactively safeguard their employees' physical and emotional safety during such times. This blog delves into various strategies and responsibilities businesses should consider to protect employees during civil unrest.

Understanding Civil Unrest

Civil unrest is a collective expression of dissatisfaction, entitlement, or anger within a society, often manifested through demonstrations, protests, strikes, and sometimes violent acts. These events can arise for various reasons, such as social inequalities, political tensions, economic hardships, or grievances against perceived injustices. Regardless of the cause, civil unrest can lead to potentially dangerous situations for employees inside and outside the workplace.

Strategies for Employee Protection

  • Risk Assessment and Planning: The foundation of protecting employees during civil unrest lies in conducting thorough risk assessments and formulating comprehensive contingency plans. Risk assessments involve identifying potential hotspots and areas prone to demonstrations, evaluating the likelihood of civil unrest, and considering how it might affect the workplace and employees.

  • Continuity of Operations Plans: A Continuity of Operations Plan is nothing more than determining how you will continue your operations in an emergency. Creating this plan before a crisis allows you to protect your business interests and employees.

  • Communication Protocols: Establishing effective
    communication channels is essential. Employees should understand the company's response plans, safety protocols, and procedures to follow in case of civil unrest. Providing regular updates can alleviate anxiety and foster a sense of security.

  • Training and Education: Properly educating employees about their rights, responsibilities, and safety measures during civil unrest is vital. Conducting training sessions on conflict resolution, de-escalation techniques, and emergency evacuation procedures can empower employees to make informed decisions in challenging situations.

  • Remote Work Arrangements: Allowing employees to work remotely during heightened civil unrest can mitigate their exposure to potential risks. Remote work not only ensures their physical safety but also contributes to their mental well-being by reducing anxiety related to commuting.

  • Physical Security Measures: Strengthening physical security measures within the workplace can deter potential threats. Installing security cameras, access control systems, and panic buttons can enhance employee safety and provide a sense of security.

  • Collaboration with Authorities: Building a collaborative relationship with local law enforcement and emergency services is crucial. In the event of civil unrest, having open lines of communication with authorities can facilitate a timely response to escalating situations.

  • Employee Support Programs: Employers should consider offering employee assistance programs for mental health support and counseling services. Civil unrest can take an emotional toll on employees, and having resources to address their emotional well-being is as important as their physical safety.

Legal and Ethical Responsibilities

  • Duty of Care: Employers have a legal obligation, known as the duty of care, to provide a safe working environment for their employees. The duty of care extends beyond the physical workplace to include situations where civil unrest may impact employees' safety during their commute or travel for work-related purposes.

  • Non-Discrimination: Ensuring the safety of all employees without discrimination is essential. Employers must not discriminate based on race, gender, religion, or nationality when implementing safety measures during civil unrest.

  • Accommodation: Employers must consider the needs of employees with disabilities or special requirements when developing safety plans. Adequate accommodations should be made to ensure their safety and inclusion during civil unrest.

  • Privacy Considerations: While employee safety is paramount, do not ignore privacy concerns. Any surveillance or monitoring measures implemented should adhere to relevant privacy laws and respect employees' rights.

Employers should prioritize protecting employees in a world where civil unrest can disrupt the fabric of society and business operations. The strategies outlined in this essay, including risk assessment, communication protocols, training, and legal responsibilities, provide a comprehensive framework for safeguarding employees during civil unrest. By prioritizing their safety, employers fulfill their moral and legal obligations and foster a culture of trust and resilience within their organizations. In the face of uncertainty, employees' well-being remains an anchor businesses can rely on to navigate the challenges posed by civil unrest.

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