May 01, 2018

Adjudicating in an Unsecured Workplace: How to Assess and Stay Safe

By John F. Muffler

“I don’t have any security. I use old phone books stacked under my desk to protect me in case of a shooting in the hearing room.”

—Tribal judge at an Administrative Law: Fair Hearing class

I am not usually left with a loss of words when I hear personal stories from judges, but that quote was one of those times, and it captures a workplace reality for many of you. This is a far cry from the judge who works in a Fort Knox–type courthouse and hears cases behind a ballistically reinforced bench—a bench, mind you, situated on the other side of a robust security apparatus consisting of physical security screening, cameras, armed guards, duress alarms, safety equipment, and well-rehearsed emergency plans. In this time of threatening, intimidating, and inappropriate behaviors—internal and external workplace threats and active shooters—your legal decision may (and to many of you already has) put you in at-risk situations.

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