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Understanding your rights and protections as a gas station worker

Working alone has its risks. Security guards, janitors, taxi drivers and others may be more susceptible to victimization than other workers who have the benefit of safety in numbers. But one category of lone worker that is particularly vulnerable is gas station and convenience store attendants.

In recent years, “gas and dash” incidents have been on the rise. Such crimes frequently involve robberies or other acts of violence against the gas station worker. However, accepting such risks are not an inherent requirement of the job. Employers have a legal duty to keep gas station and convenience store workers safe.

Your employer must take steps to protect you

Your employer has a legal obligation to keep you safe at work. They are required to provide health and safety training, to teach you how to prevent – and respond to – a possible threat. Employers should also implement a violence prevention plan to minimize the chance of trouble. This may involve:

  • Enhanced visibility: video monitoring, good lighting and unobstructed views throughout the premises
  • Responsible money handling: keep minimal cash on the premises, use safes with time locks and post signs around the store that there is very little cash on hand
  • Back-up system: provide workers with emergency transmitters, and designate a person to check in with the worker at specific intervals
  • Safe space: provide an employee-only area that is locked from the inside
  • Risk reduction: avoid stocking certain high-demand products during peak robbery hours (11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.), require customers to prepay for fuel

You cannot be blamed

Under the law, your employer cannot hold you accountable for the crimes of others. If a customer shoplifts from the convenience store, speeds away without paying for gas, damages the gas station property or commits any other crime while you are on duty, your employer cannot garnish your wages as punishment.

Everyone has the right to feel safe at work. Understanding your rights as an employee can help you ensure that you’re receiving fair treatment.