What is an employers liability for only providing adequate security to some but not all employees?

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What is an employers liability for only providing adequate security to some but not all employees?

Taking night call is a required part of my job (RN – Surgical Dept). My employer won’t provide a secure locked place for us to sleep but has many secure sleep rooms for MD’s, med residents, radiology/ultrasound techs, etc. We have been offered empty patient rooms (with doors that cannot be secured) to sleep. If something (such as assault) happened – would the employer be liable in any way (since call is a job requirement and they do provide secure sleep rooms for others)?

Asked on July 28, 2011 Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) There is no obligation for an employer to provide a locked or secure break or sleeping room for their employees.

2) That said, if an assault happens, then your employer may well be liable. You state that you have to be on call, and therefore you need a  place to wait, rest, etc. If it would be considered negligent, or unreasonably careless, for your employer to not provide you with a secure place and you were injured, that could give rise to liability. Whether it is negligent would depend on the circumstances--patient population, overall  level of security and monitoring in the building, now easy it is for a patient or outsider to get where he or she should not be, etc.


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