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Litigation: How to ensure that retail security won’t become the tail that wags the litigation dog

Six suggestions for developing effective security

Any retail business with a high volume of customer contacts (e.g. concert halls and department stores) struggles to meet customer safety and loss-prevention objectives without imposing security that is so intrusive that it harms the customer experience. 

Much of the litigation risk posed by retail security is rooted in the need for subjective analysis and discretionary intervention (e.g. who to watch, and when and how to intervene). Your employees confront these questions every day, and even honest mistakes can lead a perception of discrimination. The resulting lawsuit can be costly and do serious harm to your brand. 


The constitution of your staff can be a source of litigation risk. A staff that is homogenous although the community is diverse may suggest inappropriate hiring and promotion practices, and a plaintiff’s attorney will use any disparity to argue that security practices are tainted by discrimination. Take care to ensure that hiring and promotion practices are non-discriminatory and result in a diverse workplace.

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Alan Freeman

Alan Freeman is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Blank Rome. He advises and represents clients in a wide range of industries, including...

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