Protecting a Business and its Workers During a Protest

Posted on Sep 30, 2014

Large protests in major cities can present numerous problems and logistical challenges to businesses. Companies holding important meetings or expecting the arrival of traveling executives may need to cancel assemblies or conferences if not planned accordingly.

Protests can create numerous problems for surrounding businesses if not handled correctly

On Sept. 22, in New York City, several corporations surrounding the New York Stock Exchange were working on route planning for its workers after the demonstration Flood Wall Street brought roughly 310,000 protesters to the street, Reuters reported. The protest was the largest ever held that specifically addressed climate change and the massive group focused its attention on Broadway in front of the New York Stock Exchange.

Be prepared
Protest participants took over at least two blocks while other streets were blocked off, denying through-traffic, the source cited. For companies, preparation is absolutely essential for protest events. Higher-ups are required to address any business risks that could affect their organization during a protest.

Protecting worker's safety
While some protests remain peaceful and only result in a few arrests, others can be quickly pushed into a chaotic scene with violent protesters, police officers using physical force and tear gas dismissal methods. According to Continuity Central, even though people have the right to publicly assemble, sometimes violence and dangerous acts can increase the risk of those in the area.

For most businesses in highly public areas, business continuity and risk management strategies are necessary to keep overall operations intact. Workers leaving the office are immediately put into danger when a huge protest is going on outside. Businesses should regularly inform their workers about the situation happening outside their doors with up to date information on the protest.

Give multiple route options
Additionally, organizations have a responsibility to give workers different options to protect them during a protest. Businesses that can allow employees to work from home should encourage or require it if they know an enormous protest will likely make travel lengthy or impossible.

Companies should also provide different routes to public transportation from the building or the safest ways to exit in case of an emergency. According to the University of California, Berkley's website, employees should refrain from confronting protesters to avoid physical or verbal altercations.

By staying current with relevant information about an incident such as a protest or riot, businesses can help safeguard their employees from physical harm during the events and limit overall business risks.


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