What should a professional athlete do to protect his/her home on game day? The answer is more nuanced than most lawyers imagine.
The game schedule for professional athletes is posted well before the season begins. Teams use social media to give fans a behind the scenes view of the team traveling, and much of an athlete’s life is broadcast to the general public. While this is exciting for fans that can enhance an athlete’s stature, it is also exciting to criminals who are watching closely for an opportunity to take from an athlete when he/she is not looking.
Athletes often have help within the home. Chefs, nannies, maids, personal assistants, housekeepers, plumbers, audio/visual installers, contractors, all help athletes manage their life at home. Each of them also gains intimate information about an athlete’s life. But what is protecting the athlete from them? Domestic aids often make legal claims when they leave a high-net-worth families or are fired. Some will claim an injury while on the job. Others may pass along information about their employers to family and friends who are looking for a quick payday or an easy score.
Many burglaries and thefts taking place at the homes of high-net-worth individuals occur because of insider knowledge passed by those allowed to enter their home. While the public has access to an athlete’s game schedule, few have information about their home and where items are and when the home is empty. In most cases, athletes who have been victims of theft have not set up a situation ahead of time to protect their home properly or provide a recourse for information being passed and people being held accountable.
Putting house staff on contracts and outlining the importance of confidentiality, and tying them to liability for information being passed to third parties is a great way to use a contract as a psychological weapon against a worker who may be thinking about taking, or helping another person take property from your athlete client.
How can you help protect an athlete from legal claims and theft occurring from their home? Here are some tips to keep athlete’s safe at home:
Pick the right team: Require anyone and everyone who will enter an athlete’s home to submit to a background check, and advise your athlete client to avoid hiring anyone who has not passed the background check. This simple tactic can eliminate a lot of problems before they develop.
Secret Plays: Require individuals and companies entering the home to work for your athlete client in their home sign a confidentiality agreement and accept liability for any information passed to someone who enters the athlete’s property without permission. Contracts can be used as psychological weapons in professional relationships – especially with individuals so use them to your athlete client’s advantage.
Maintain their formation: For employees/independent contractors who are leaving employment within the athlete’s home, make sure to have a strong non-disclosure agreement signed. This is another contract that can be used to put a former employee in the right state of mind regarding personal information about your athlete client.
Watch the film: Make sure your athlete’s home is covered by multiple security cameras that cover the perimeter and inside the home. Let anyone and everyone know the home is covered by cameras, and keep the recordings in a place that would be difficult for people to get to. Some clients may be uncomfortable with cameras in every room in the home, but make sure cameras are placed in areas where valuables are kept.
Training Camp: Educate your athlete client about he ways their home is at risk while they are gone and how to protect it as best as possible. This honest conversation should include worst-case scenarios and ways to protect their home when they are not there. Athlete clients will want to know this information and take action rather than learn and live with the worry.
Thinking about the ways people may try to attack your athlete client while they hone their craft will help you become an indispensable trusted advisor. Take your fan hat off, and take a critical look at the weak spots in your athlete client’s security to keep your athlete client safe at home!