Security personnel from Global Risk Solutions managing a strike situation with professionalism and care.

The Legal Landscape of Strike Security: Best Practices and Pitfalls

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

In the complex terrain of labor disputes, the role of security teams transcends mere crowd control. It requires a nuanced understanding of legal boundaries, proactive collaboration with law enforcement, and meticulous documentation practices. This article delves into the multifaceted aspects of managing security during strikes, highlighting best practices and common legal pitfalls. We aim to equip security professionals with the knowledge to navigate these challenges effectively, ensuring safety and compliance.

Laws Governing Labor Disputes

Labor disputes are governed by a complex web of laws that balance workers’ rights with employers’ interests. Key legislation includes the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in the United States, which outlines the rights of employees to organize and engage in collective bargaining. Security measures during strikes must respect these rights, avoiding actions that could be construed as intimidation or coercion. Familiarity with specific local and federal laws is essential for security teams to operate within legal confines.

Impact on Security Measures

Legal restrictions directly influence security protocols during strikes. For instance, while maintaining order is paramount, security personnel must ensure their actions do not infringe on workers’ rights to peaceful assembly and expression. This includes prohibiting surveillance tactics perceived as intimidating, such as photographing or video recording picketers without a legitimate purpose. Security strategies must be carefully planned to uphold the law while protecting property and individuals.

Complex legal scenarios often arise during strikes, requiring security teams to make nuanced decisions. For example, when a picket line crosses into private property, determining the appropriate response involves understanding trespass laws and labor dispute regulations. In these situations, seeking legal counsel is advisable to navigate the intricacies of the law. Training programs for security personnel should include modules on legal compliance to prepare them for these challenges.

Cooperating with Law Enforcement

Establishing Lines of Communication

Practical cooperation with law enforcement starts with establishing clear lines of communication. Before a strike, security leaders should contact local police and sheriff’s departments to discuss potential scenarios and collaborative responses. This proactive approach facilitates a coordinated effort during the strike, ensuring security teams and law enforcement operate with a unified strategy.

Understanding Roles and Responsibilities

Clear delineation of roles and responsibilities is crucial for successful collaboration. Security teams should understand that their primary role is to protect property and ensure the safety of individuals, while law enforcement handles public order offenses. This distinction helps prevent jurisdictional conflicts and enhances the effectiveness of strike management. Regular joint training sessions help solidify this understanding.

Sharing Intelligence and Information

Sharing relevant intelligence and information with law enforcement can aid in preventing escalation during strikes. Security teams often possess valuable insights into potential flashpoints or disruptive elements within striking groups. By sharing this information with law enforcement, both parties can better prepare and respond to incidents, ensuring a peaceful dispute resolution.

Documentation and Evidence Gathering

Establishing a Documentation Protocol

A well-defined documentation protocol is essential for legally compliant evidence gathering. This should include standardized procedures for recording incidents, with clear guidelines on the type of information to be captured. Documentation should be objective, focusing on facts rather than interpretations, to ensure its usefulness in legal proceedings or negotiations.

Utilizing Technology for Documentation

Technology plays a crucial role in modern documentation efforts. Body cameras, surveillance systems, and incident management software can all contribute to an accurate record of events. However, balancing technological surveillance with privacy considerations and legal restrictions is essential. Policies governing the use of such technology should be clearly defined and communicated to all security personnel.

Handling Evidence with Care

Evidence collected during strikes must be handled carefully to maintain integrity and legal admissibility. This includes establishing a chain of custody, secure storage practices, and protocols for sharing evidence with law enforcement or legal teams. Training for security personnel should emphasize the importance of meticulous evidence handling to avoid compromising its value.

Overstepping Surveillance Boundaries

One of the most common legal pitfalls is the overstepping of surveillance boundaries. Security teams must avoid invasive surveillance practices that could be perceived as harassment or intimidation. This includes using undercover agents within striking groups or excessively monitoring lawful assembly areas. Adhering to legal guidelines for surveillance is critical to avoid litigation and reputational damage.

Misinterpreting the Right to Assemble

Another frequent mistake is misinterpreting the legal boundaries of the right to assemble. Security measures must not infringe upon this right, provided the assembly is conducted peacefully and lawfully. Missteps in this area can lead to accusations of civil rights violations, drawing negative publicity and potential legal consequences. Continuous legal education for security teams can help mitigate this risk.

Failing to Document Properly

The failure to document incidents and security measures properly can have significant legal ramifications. Inadequate documentation may undermine the credibility of security efforts and hamper the resolution of disputes. Ensuring that all security personnel are trained in effective documentation practices is essential for both legal compliance and the successful management of labor disputes.


In conclusion, navigating the legal landscape of strike security requires a comprehensive approach that balances the enforcement of safety protocols with strict adherence to legal standards. Security teams can effectively manage the complexities of labor disputes by understanding legal restrictions, cooperating with law enforcement, meticulously documenting incidents, and avoiding common legal pitfalls. This article serves as a guide for security professionals seeking to enhance their practices in the face of these challenges, promoting a safe and lawful approach to strike security.