Employer’s Duty to Prevent Workplace Shootings

Gun violence in the world continues to increase. In Indiana, we experienced our own senseless act of violence at a FedEx location in Indianapolis in 2021. Many innocent lives were taken by an active shooter, and although there were active shooter protocols in place, it was not enough. It left many with fatal injuries, non-life-threatening injuries, and many emotional damages following what they witnessed.

Many times, these incidents are evaluated to keep the focus of the actions on the perpetrator and not the location, but if you were involved in an incident at your place of employment, odds are your employer may be responsible for not providing a safe workplace environment. Just as schools often do now, many places of employment have active shooter drills and protocols in place for if something of that nature should occur.

There are several courses of action an employer may take such as:

  • Have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) in place and practice with employees
  • Install metal detectors
  • Have video surveillance of the area with active security on duty
  • Lockdown a facility should they have notice of a disgruntled employee
  • Educated employees on suspicious behavior and how to report it
  • Have proper identification required to be on the premises

Since these events are becoming more common there is a duty on companies to take precautions to prevent harm or criminal acts at the workplace. These are critical situations that involve volatile perpetrators that are sometimes difficult to notice the signs that someone is struggling, but there are often “red flags” that are normally seen in their behavior.

In fact, in the incident that happened in Indianapolis, the shooter’s own mother had previously reported that her son was armed, violent, and suicidal according to USA Today. A gun had been seized from him prior to the shooting, but he was able to obtain a new weapon and unfortunately used that weapon at his previous place of employment causing fatal and serious injuries to many.

It is human resources' responsibility to properly screen employees and prospective employees, have a system in place for reporting erratic behavior, and offer solutions and counseling to employees. In addition, the facility also has a responsibility to the employees and should have security measures in place, have an EAP, have evacuation plans visible near entrances/exits, and have a notification system in place for emergency situations just as an example of protocols that could be in place.

We hope that you, your friends, or your loved ones never have to endure being involved in such a frightful incident. If you do, it is important to understand your rights for injuries or lives taken on business premises. In the moments after an incident of this caliber, it's important to talk to an experienced injury lawyer to discuss options and to take the burden of what is going on off your shoulders.

Contact an experienced injury lawyer to review your case and what possible courses of action you may have. Any of the attorneys here at Tabor Law Firm would be happy to provide a free consultation to discuss your unique situation and offer our services should they be warranted.
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