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Employees Only Signs: Frequently Asked Questions


“Employee only” is a designation given to an area or room in an establishment that can be accessed only by the employees of that establishment. Mostly, “employees only” rooms are separated by permanently installed partitions, casework, or furnishings. These areas are used to store equipment and/or conduct specific activities related to the organization. Some examples of employees-only spaces are kitchens in restaurants, employee side of service counters, bars, file rooms, security rooms, etc.


“Employees Only” places in a workplace can be - Machinery rooms (such as mechanical, electrical, and communications equipment rooms), elevators, food preparation areas, storerooms, custodial rooms, ceiling space, roof, chase/riser area, utility tunnel, lounges, locker rooms, cafeterias, libraries, restrooms,and many more. All these areas may require shielding from unauthorized, unaware, and common people other than the employees and authorized visitors on your property.


Different businesses have different security issues. While retailers will be concerned about reducing shoplifting, farmers may be worried about vandalism. However, general businesses can strengthen their security in various ways, some of which are listed below - 

Security Cameras: Invest in a good quality video surveillance system so that each and every activity can be recorded and kept as a record.

Restrict Entry: Every business has one or the other areas where valuables or safety equipment is stored or a crucial activity is being conducted. These places must be designated as “Employees Only” with clear signage for better safety and security.

Access Control: Consider installing an access control system, employees swipe cards, biometrics, or personalized key card to unlock a certain door.

Doors, windows, and locks: Reinforce doors and other entry points with security features to prevent security breaches. Use high-security smart locks.

Cybersecurity: Secure digital assets with recommended cybersecurity practices.

Lighting: Good lighting eliminates dark areas and reduces the risk of accidents in low-light conditions like parking lots.


Security: Signs let trusted individuals inside, keep others out from important areas, and ensure a more secure environment.

Clear Confusion: These signs clarify any ambiguity among visitors and staff members about access to certain areas. Also, employees will swiftly enter the marked areas without wasting much time.

Reduce Theft: Employees Only Signs can protect your company’s assets, expensive equipment or even office supplies by controlling access. You can restrict access to supply closets and computer banks, so only employees can access them.

Reduce Accidents: Various experiments in labs or chemicals in schools or hospitals can injure people who aren’t trained to use them. To prevent accidents, you can restrict access to only those who know how to follow safety protocols.


According to federal law, every employer must provide bathroom facilities to their employees but not necessarily allow customers to use these restrooms. Considering this, it should be ok to put an Employees Only Sign outside the bathroom

However, state and local laws decide whether restaurants and other businesses must make restrooms available to the public. Therefore, carefully refer to your state and local law before putting up an “Employee Only” sign outside the bathroom.

If a business opts to open access to its bathroom to the general public, it must ensure that the facilities conform to local plumbing codes and to the Americans with Disabilities Act.


In most jurisdictions, entrance areas marked as "employees only" (like a stockroom, employee bathroom, etc.) can be considered “trespassing” by law. One of the conditions that qualify as trespassing (in most states) is where people enter areas with signs posted denying permission to enter. However, criminal charges and possible civil actions for such a trespassing act can vary among jurisdictions and can be superseded at the local, state, and federal levels.


Employees-only elevators can have an electronic system inside that requires some kind of a chip, ID badge, or access card to operate. If an unauthorized person enters such as Staff-Only elevators, he or she can get stuck inside it as the elevator won’t work. Such access control elevators are common in hotels, residential apartments, and universities, hospitals, offices, and more.

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