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CSSA Offers New Employment Manual Template

Tuesday, March 19, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brenda Lafontaine
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Want More Peace of Mind When It Comes to Employees?

So, things are going just fine at your self storage facility when all of a sudden you are slapped with a lawsuit from a disabled employee who claims that your store doesn’t have the proper setup to help them do their work. Or an employee decides that you aren’t paying them the right wages. Or that you are treating them poorly.

All of a sudden, those peaceful and happy days at your self storage business have become a royal pain in the you-know-where. Could it have been prevented? Could you have been ahead of the game?

Thanks to the California Self Storage Association (CSSA), you can. The CSSA and the Bay area law firm of Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith LLP joined forces to create an Employment Manual Template that has just become available to CSSA members. This new member benefit will help protect CSSA members from employment lawsuits and will create a new level of professionalism for members that currently do not have one in place for their teams.

"This has been a very rewarding project those of us who work with the CSSA,” said Erin King, who heads up the CSSA office. "This new member benefit is a direct result of feedback we heard from owners after the manuals author spoke at our 2012 Owners Symposium in Walnut Creek. Immediately following her presentation on California employment law, many members came to us and told us how valuable it would be if the CSSA could offer an employment manual for members to make sure they keeping up with current federal and state employment laws while offering them a level of protection and ultimately a better experience for their employees.

"Having a policy manual in place keeps the business owner and the employees all on the same page and ultimately provides a better work experience for all involved,” concluded King.

Lisa Barnett Sween, Esq. Partner at the San Francisco office of Lewis Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith LLP specializes in Labor and Employment. Sween was the driving force behind the manual. She will be hosting two 2-hour classes for CSSA members, one in Northern California and one in Southern California. Those dates will be announced soon. The CSSA also has arranged to have the Employment Manual Template updated on an annual basis and updates will be provided free of charge to members in good standing who have purchased the book.

For Sween, the manual represents a strong message to those in self storage on a number of levels.

"An Employee Handbook is an employer’s ‘sword and shield,’” Said Sween. "It can be used offensively to respond to tricky or sticky employee relations issues.  It can also be used defensively to demonstrate the employer acted reasonably, was aware of the law, and acted consistent with the law. Being aware of what issues typically arise in the workplace and best practices around those issues is the first line of defense when responding to employee complaints and avoid liability for harassment, discrimination, retaliation and the most often litigated wage and hour issues.”

And what steps does Sween feel an owner/operator should take to prevent problems with employees?

"Have an up-to-date handbook; performance counsel and document issues timely and with the use of objective facts; provide managerial training on harassment and discrimination.  Be aware of wage and hour requirements and pay accordingly. Being proactive and aware of legal trends helps employers avoid liability,” she concluded.

As mentioned, the Employment Manual Template is now available. The cost is $299 and the CSSA will alert members who have purchased it of any changes on an annual basis. Members can go to the CSSA STORE and purchase the book. Upon purchase a user agreement will be sent to the member. Once executed and received by the CSSA a copy of the template will be sent to the purchaser via email.

So get yourself back to the peace-of-mind status by purchasing the CSSA’s Employment Manual Template.

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