Polished and Professional: 7 Tips to Building Your Brand

Tony Unfried, CEO, CSA360 Software, Inc

Security companies play a crucial role in ensuring the safety & security of people & businesses. With the rise of technology, security companies have become increasingly competitive, & it’s essential to have a polished brand that sets you apart from the rest. Here are some ways that security companies can make sure their brand is professional & stands out.

1. Professional staff: Your staff is the face of your company and the first point of
contact with clients. It’s essential to have well-groomed and professional staff,
who represent the company’s values and standards. Encourage your staff to wear a uniform that represents the company and ensure that they are well- informed about company policies and procedures.

2. Website: Your website is often the first impression that potential clients will
have of your company. It should be professional, user-friendly, and easy to
navigate. Make sure your website is up to date, with accurate information
about your services and contact details. Use high-quality images and videos to
showcase your services and include testimonials from satisfied clients.

3. Social Media: Social media platforms can be a powerful tool for promoting
your brand and connecting with potential clients. Use social media to share
updates about your company, industry news, and promotions. Make sure your
social media profiles are professional, with a consistent look and feel.

4. Marketing Materials: Consistent branding across all marketing materials helps
to establish a strong and recognizable brand. Use the same colors, logo, and
font in all your marketing materials, including business cards, flyers, and
brochures.

5. Customer Service: Excellent customer service is essential in building a strong
brand. Respond promptly to customer inquiries and ensure that clients are
satisfied with the services provided. Encourage clients to provide feedback and
use this feedback to improve your services.

6. Training: Regular training and development programs for your staff can help to
improve their knowledge and skills and ensure that they are equipped to
provide the best possible service to clients. Regular training also helps to foster
a positive company culture and promote a sense of teamwork among staff.

7. Reputation Management: Your online reputation is crucial in establishing a
professional brand. Monitor online reviews and ratings and respond promptly to
any negative feedback. Encourage clients to leave positive reviews and use
this feedback to improve your services.

Building a professional brand is essential for security companies in today’s competitive market. A polished brand helps to establish trust and credibility with clients and sets your company apart from the rest. By focusing on professionalism, a user-friendly website, consistent branding, excellent customer service, training, and reputation management, security companies can ensure that their brand is polished and stands out. CSA360 Software can help you with all your needs from your website to your operations platform.

Tony Unfried, CEO of CSA360, holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs and Criminal Justice from Indiana University, where he graduated with honors. While enrolled in his master’s program, Tony worked for The TJX Companies, Inc., leading the region in loss prevention and moving the company toward technology use in Security. Tony went on to join the most significant security company in Indiana, managing more than 500 employees and 50 sites, including the Indiana Convention Center, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center. Seeing a noticeable gap in technology use in the physical security sector, Tony created his first security software application, launched at the Super Bowl in 2012, and recognized twice for Excellence in Mobile Technology by Techpoint. Tony has also spoken on Tech in Physical Security on panels with ASIS and IAVM.

 

Recruiting That Works Requires a Recipe for Success

Anne Laguzza, CEO – The Works Consulting, Network Partner

Do you have a recruiting plan? I am not talking about a haphazard list of open positions. I am talking about a detailed recruiting plan. In our current talent shortage, having an actual detailed plan is now more important than ever.

Many leaders feel pressure to hire immediately, and while rushing to do so, don’t take the time to develop a plan. Even experienced leaders need a plan to ensure that the best person is hired for the position that they have. 

Why have a recruiting plan? 

In hiring, you want consistency. Consistency leads to high performing teams that match your values and generate the best results for your business. You want to follow the same recipe every single time. 

Consider a recipe for muffins. In order to produce the same delicious, light and fluffy muffins every single time, you must follow the recipe exactly as listed. Any deviation from the list of ingredients and instructions will result in a completely different muffin. They could taste great or need to be tossed out.

THIS is why you need a recruiting plan. It is your “recipe” if you will, of how you will select new team members. You will follow the recruiting plan over and over again to ensure that you hire the best people for your position. You want to consistently hire the people that you need for your team to grow – not a “let’s see what happens” approach.

The benefits of a well thought out recruiting plan are:

  • It saves time.
  • It keeps you and others focused.
  • It maintains organization and consistency.

Some components of a good recruiting plan:

  • A job description or understanding of responsibilities.
  • Identification of the non-negotiables for a position.
  • Detailed behavioral characteristics and skills that are required for this position.
  • An engaging job posting.
  • Development of a job posting strategy – sources, timing, etc. 
  • Established interview questions.
  • A defined process of who will be involved in interviews and when.
  • A recruiting timeline with an estimated start date. 

Developing an effective recruiting plan takes time up front to plan. The time invested up front will save you time later on in performance management and having to refill the position if the person selected doesn’t work out. Not to mention the cost your bad hiring decisions have on team morale.

Hiring is likely THE most important thing you’ll do as a leader. Every time you have an opening on your team, you have an opportunity to evaluate the current strengths and identify what skills and qualities you need to help your team grow.

Don’t throw this opportunity away. You have a very important job as a leader and your current people are counting on you to carry out that responsibility by finding and hiring only the best people. Every single time.

Anne Laguzza is the CEO of The Works Consulting, a CALSAGA Network Partner. As a seasoned business executive with human resources management, leadership development, and performance coaching experience, Anne works with clients from a variety of industries to develop better systems, maximize employee productivity, and enable management to focus on business growth. For more information, check out theworksconsulting.com or email anne@theworksconsulting.com. You can also find Anne on Instagram and LinkedIn.

CALIFORNIA TIPS THE SCALES: EMPLOYERS’ NEW OBLIGATIONS TO COMPLY WITH PAY TRANSPARENCY AND PAY DATA REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

Saba Zafar, Esq. and Jaimee K. Wellerstein, Esq., Bradley, Gmelich + Wellerstein, CALSAGA Legal Advisor

On September 27, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 1162 (“SB 1162”), an expansive pay transparency and pay data reporting bill requiring employers to include pay ranges in all job advertisements effective January 1, 2023.  SB 1162 also makes significant changes to California’s existing pay data reporting requirements. 

What Do California Employers Need To Know About SB 1162?

SB 1162 has two components that will be codified under Labor Code section 432.3 and Government Code section 12999. The first relates to pay transparency and the second to the pay data report that is submitted to the Civil Rights Department (“CRD” – formerly the Department of Fair Employment and Housing).

1. Pay Transparency (Labor Code section 432.3) – Employers must comply with certain pay scale transparency requirements:

a. Employers with 15 or more employees must include the pay scale for a position in any job posting. This applies even if the employer engages the services of a third party to announce, post, publish or otherwise make a job posting known.

b. All employers must, upon reasonable request, provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant applying for a job (this was already a law but is a good reminder).

c. All employers must, upon request, provide an employee with the pay scale for the current job for which they are employed. 

d. Employers must also maintain records of a job title and the wage rate history for that job for the each employee for the length of the employee’s employment and then for three years after the employee’s separation of employment. The Labor Commissioner can audit these records. 

As to what constitutes a pay scale, it simply means “the salary or hourly wage range that the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position.” If the employer pays a set salary or hourly wage, then the employer should include that amount in the job posting. 

As a reminder, employers may not inquire about an applicant’s salary history. What can employers still do? Employers can still inquire about an applicant’s salary expectations.

2. Pay Data Reporting (Government Code section 129999) – Employers with 100 or more employees (“Covered Employers”) were already required to report pay data to the CRD and could previously have submitted the same EE0-1 report that they submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). Under amended Government Code section 12999, Covered Employers will have to meet some additional requirements. Below are some of the pertinent (but not all) changes:

a. Covered Employers must submit the pay data report by the second Wednesday of May of each year, rather than in March as previously required;

b. The report must include the number of employees by race, ethnicity, and sex for 10 job categories listed in the Code.

c. The report must also include the mean and median hourly rate for each job category for each combination of race, ethnicity, and sex. 

d. Covered Employers who contract with labor contractors must provide a separate report to the CRD. 

e. Employers can pick any pay period between October 1 and December 31 of the reporting year. 

What’s The Penalty for Non-Compliance?

It is incredibly important for employers to comply with these requirements, not just because it is the law, but also because non-compliance comes with penalties. 

For violations of Labor Code section 432.3, an aggrieved person may file a written complaint with the Labor Commissioner within one year after the person learns of the violation. Upon finding of a violation, the Labor Commissioner may assess penalties between $100 and $10,000 per violation!

For violations of Government Code section 12999, the CRD may assess penalties for a failure to file a report up to $100 per employee for the first violation and up to $200 per employee for each subsequent violation (for an employer with 100 employees, that is $10,000 for the first violation and $20,000 for each subsequent violation).

Employer Takeaway: Comply! Comply! Comply! If you do not already have data regarding pay scale for various positions, you should start compiling it now so that you are ready when an employee or applicant inquires about the pay scale for a position or when you need to include the pay scale on a job posting. For the pay data report to the CRD, since the data need only be for one pay period, employers should start compiling this information now so you are prepared to report it in May. As always, the attorneys at Bradley, Gmelich & Wellerstein, LLP are here to answer any questions you may have about this new law or its impact on your business. 

 Saba Zafar is Special Counsel in Bradley, Gmelich & Wellerstein LLP’s Employment Law Department. Ms. Zafar has over a decade of experience as an attorney, primarily in employment law. Ms. Zafar focuses her practice of providing strategic advice and counsel in all aspects of employment law and workplace matters, including drafting and implementation of HR policies and procedures, Employment Handbooks, providing advice to clients on personnel issues as well as general business matters.

 

 

Jaimee K. Wellerstein, Esq. is a Partner at Bradley, Gmelich & Wellerstein LLP, and the Head of the firm’s Employment Department. Jaimee concentrates her practice in representing employers in all aspects of employment law, including defense of wage and hour class actions, PAGA claims, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful discharge, misclassification, and other employment related lawsuits. She also provides employment counseling and training in all of these areas.

Jaimee routinely represents employers in federal and state courts and in arbitration proceedings throughout the state, as well as at administrative proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, the United States Department of Labor, and other federal and state agencies.

Jaimee assists as a Legal Advisor to CALSAGA, and is a member of ASIS International. She is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest peer rating availablejwellerstein@bgwlawyers.com

About Bradley, Gmelich & Wellerstein LLP

Founded in 2000, Bradley, Gmelich & Wellerstein, LLP is dedicated to providing sound advice and exceptional results for our clients. Our twenty-five plus skilled, dedicated and diverse attorneys represent individuals and businesses of all sizes in a wide variety of business, employment law and litigation matters.  www.bgwlawyers.com.

INSURANCE RENEWAL TIPS FOR 2023

Shaun Kelly, Tolman & Wiker, CALSAGA Preferred Broker

Greetings to All,

What a great pleasure it was to have the CALSAGA Annual Conference in person again! Being together brought back many memories and also created new ones. Good information was shared amongst the attendees and presenters that created a significantly better understanding of the changes in our industry today.

To piggyback on some of the information I shared during my presentation at the conference, the insurance market is expecting premium increases and restrictions in coverage. In your upcoming insurance renewals, please be aware and pay attention to the detail and ask questions. Here are some highlights from my presentation:

  • Expect premium increases on all lines of insurance coverage, except Workers Compensation:
    • Workers Compensation premiums my increase if you have had claims that have affected your loss ratio or your payroll has decreased
    • Insureds with similar loss ratios and payrolls for the past 3-5 years should not expect rate increases on Workers Compensation
  • Get your applications in early to allow your Broker time to obtain optional quotes.
  • Review your applications with your Broker to verify the information is accurate.
    • In some policies, the application will be part of the policy and if the information is incorrect coverage for a claim may be denied
  • Please pay specific attention to the General Liability coverage/endorsements/exclusions:
    • Insurance carriers are adding “Exclusions” to the policies
    • These exclusions may apply to your current operations
    • If there is a “Designated Operation – Exclusion” and no detail is provided, ask for a copy of that exclusion
  • Provide detailed information to your Broker regarding your Safety Policies & Procedures:
    • Workplace safety and training (Driver safety training)
    • Auto tracking and monitoring devices installed in vehicles
    • State required safety programs
  • If you have claims, provide information on what you have implemented to prevent similar claims from happening again:
    • Workers Compensation
    • General Liability
    • Business Auto
    • Employment Practices Liability

To assist in your diligence and to obtain the insurance coverage needed to protect you and your business, I would recommend working with a Broker that understands the Security Industry. All insurance policies are not the same and understanding the differences is extremely important. This could apply to all your security operations – security guards, alarm/monitoring operations, executive protection, private investigations, security consulting…

Take care.

Shaun Kelly joined Tolman & Wiker Insurance Services in 2005.  He specializes in all lines of property and casualty insurance for industries including contract security firms, agriculture, construction, oil and gas. Shaun received a BS in Business Administration with a major in Finance from California State University in Fresno, California. He is an active member of several industry associations, including the Association CALSAGA, the Kern County Builders Exchange and the Independent Insurance Agents of Kern County. Shaun can be reached at 661-616-4700 or skelly@tolmanandwiker.com.

Connecting Workforce Management in 2023

Brianne Stephan, Sr. Director of Product, TEAM Software, Network Partner

Optimizing core operational functionalities now can prepare your business for the new year. 

Year-end is a natural opportunity to begin evaluating your current processes to ensure optimization before you launch into next year’s activities. As you evaluate ways to improve processes and gain efficiencies, it’s important to factor workforce management into the equation. 

It’s time for a gap analysis. 

Take a minute. Think about how many software solutions you have running across your business. How are you handling HR and benefits administration, versus time and attendance? How are you proving service delivery to your clients? What areas are still manual, or tackled by pencil and paper? 

Once you conduct this audit, take a hard look at what you’ve got. Then, consider what’s missing. 

It might be a good idea to take an internal tour of your company. Talk to each department, your guards in the field and your stakeholders in the back office. What are the things they’re spending the most time on? Are there roadblocks creating bottlenecks in service delivery?

Once you really grasp an all-encompassing list of wants, needs and already-haves, then you can really start filling the gaps. 

Common gaps.

In our conversations with industry contacts, there are some common gaps that are typically uncovered in this process. 

Time constraints across all departments.

Every part of business operations takes too long. Entire overhead roles are dedicated to manual benefits and time off management. Your managers are chasing down employees for paperwork, scheduling and job assignments. Duplicate data entry and redundant processes are eating into what really matters: your clients and your contracts. 

Lack of visibility into operations and performance.

You’re relying on word of mouth or paper daily activity reports to ensure the work you need done is actually getting done. Your clients are demanding comprehensive reporting before committing to a new contract or added scope of work. You have no data to support proof of quality delivered or to renegotiate contracts when needed.

Field access and employee engagement.

Guards don’t have a way to access their schedules and shift expectations, manage what training they need to stay on top of, or even communicate to managers while out in the field. The tools they have to track their time or review tasks are hard to access or tracked only on paper. And, they send multiple messages to your admin team every time there is a question because they can’t access their own time off balances, insurance or pay stub information. 

Keep these common concerns in mind as you review what’s working, and what isn’t working, for your operations. 

I know what I’m missing. What’s next?  

Of course, we all know having a list of wants and needs doesn’t necessarily mean a point solution is needed for every single person every single time. 

Software is intended to make the work of a business easier. With automation, you can drive efficiency and improve the effectiveness of day-to-day activities – saving time, money and resources along the way. 

Still, piecing software together can often serve the needs of one department, while creating nightmares in another. That’s the problem with siloed data, a hidden challenge many companies in the security industry are dealing with every day. 

Siloed data happens when individual departments or teams use a standalone system to accomplish their work. It can create inconsistencies in reporting, duplicate processes, manual error and incomplete information. On top of that, it increases the amount of support contacts your company has to manage if issues arise, multiple release notes to keep on top of for features and enhancements, and even more billing requirements for your finance team. 

So, the next step in your gap analysis should be to think about what functions make the most sense to come together under a single, integrated software solution. 

Through this approach, you break down those data silos, creating a single source of truth to work through across your departments. 

An all-in-one approach.

We recommend an all-in-one approach to resolve your gap analysis. An integrated workforce management software dives into connecting core areas of your business, from the back office, to operations, to guards in the field. Plus, it reduces cost and risk, improves information accuracy and simplifies processes in the long run. (If you want to go the extra mile, think about integrating your financial and accounting operations, too – an ERP solution can get you there.)

These benefits equate to less time, money and resources spent on manual workforce management, which frees up time to focus on what really matters to your business (like building client relationships).

What Brianne Stephan, Sr. Director of Product, loves most about her role is the collaboration between Users, Business and Technology.  She is passionate about product strategy, design thinking principles and new product development.  Brianne’s focus at WorkWave is on the global product strategy and bringing modern technology and features to the product portfolio.

A New Year for Recruitment: Leveraging Passive Candidates

Jeff Davis,  TEAM Software, CALSAGA Network Partner

It’s not an overstatement to say many service contractors approach hiring with one pillar in their strategy: job boards. Job boards are an effective tool in gaining a lot of visibility for your open positions amongst active job seekers. Where this tactic falls short is in reaching passive candidates. 

Passive job candidates are defined as individuals who aren’t necessarily looking for new employment, but are open if an opportunity becomes available. Studies estimate that 70% of the labor market is passively interested in employment.

As we continue to experience fluctuations and shortages in the labor market, it’s important to effectively reach and appeal to those individuals who are passively open to new opportunities. 

The first step towards this venture is to identify your company’s ideal employee. In hiring, there are typically two clear sets of requirements: criteria required by the company or contract, and criteria required of the candidate themselves. To effectively hire (and retain post-hire) both criteria should be addressed.

Company and contract requirements are straightforward: things like geography, quantity or timeframe. If your company is a multi-state or multi-market company, it’s possible you’ll have job openings similar from state to state. Knowing there’s overlap, you could create a list of requirements that are needed from an open role to fulfill your contractual obligations.

When it comes to candidate requirements, the conditions might take a bit more work to pull together. Does the candidate need specific qualifications? Are there certain required attributes (e.g., an age minimum)? Is there behavioral criteria to consider? Once you know your ideal state (or, ideal candidate) you can budget dollars more appropriately on recruitment distribution strategies.

Next, budget time and resources on digital platform delivery. When looking to hire the right candidates from a passive market, posting on job boards and letting the application sit until filled isn’t the best approach. With digital advertising available on individual apps and platforms, companies of any size now have a multitude of ways to reach their ideal employment audience. Facebook, Google, Tik Tok…each platform has their own advantages in traffic generation for open roles and strengthening your employer brand. If you’re just getting started in recruitment marketing, know there are many platforms where you can build free accounts that help introduce you to paid advertising tactics, keyword trends and analytics. 

While digital advertising is effective and a means to market directly to your ideal candidate, it can be expensive. Traditional marketing efforts should not be overlooked. Print, mass media, and direct mailings have all started to make a comeback as digital prices have increased. For example, creating a direct mail campaign to ex-employees that would be welcome back to your organization.  

Finally, analyze your data. Recruitment marketing needs to be actively managed and flexibly approached. Depending on your analytic platform of choice, you can see how much traffic is coming from each source, what that traffic is doing on your website and if they’re performing the action you want to see (like an application form fill). Digging deeper, you’ll be able to see which efforts are leading to qualified interviews and hires. As you actively manage the effort, you can make adjustments based on this information to keep your recruitment funnel high-performing. 

Learn more about hiring, onboarding and more at teamsoftware.com

For the last 20 years, Jeff has focused on technology, working in sales and marketing to executive leadership, with five years specializing in human resources technology. Within his leadership role at WorkWave, which acquired TEAM Software in 2021, Jeff serves as a subject matter expert delivering marketing and service solutions to service contractors worldwide.

Shaping the Optimal SaaS Ecosystem
How CSA360 Software follows through on their Core Values

Tony Unfried, CSA360

Dream Big. At CSA360 Software, our vision is to create the best software possible. When  we design our interface, we are thinking globally by asking if all users would benefit. We’re  committed to creating a roadmap that is always improving. 

Maintaining your Mission, Vision and Values may seem like a daunting task, however, setting a  clear vision for your security company can help you attract and retain talent, keep your  leadership focused, and help you scale strategically. 

Leadership expert Simon Sinek often talks about knowing ‘the why’ of our business. He defines it  as “The compelling higher purpose that inspires us and acts as the source of all we do”. At  CSA360 Software, our ‘why’ stems from the belief in our product as well as our steadfast  commitment to our clients to help them reach their business goals without breaking the bank. 

Growth acceleration is a byproduct of clear core values. In the last twelve months, our company  has strategically expanded. First, there was a defined initiative to create a better user experience.  New developers and talented UX designers were added to the team, executing useful updates to  our current modules. 

Consistently improving our modules delights our current and future clients. Our workforce  management module, HR Commander, has new views, filters and scheduling features, and can  easily integrate with different payroll software. Our Text Commander module has experienced a  complete overhaul, making it easy to send notifications to staff, guests or segments of groups  that could benefit from real-time information. 

Our Dispatch Module can show all stages from ‘reported’ to ‘in progress’ to ‘all clear’ in real time.  Use a special form in the field? Get up to five custom forms specifically designed for your  business.  

Gather and measure analytics with Custom Summary Reporting, written to your exact  requirements. In addition, with modules such as Tour Confirmation, Communications Log, and  Push Notifications, your security staff is fully accountable.

Our Binder Module is a digital manual to store EOPs, EAPs and SOPs at the touch of a button.  This feature is great for events with large staff and volunteers. 

Other modules such as Lost & Found match the item to the owner with minimal time and effort. 

CSA360 Software offers nineteen complete modules. Clients can learn from our experienced  sales staff to receive a perfectly curated order of only what they need. Clients can request any  combination of one to all nineteen pieces. The software is available on a monthly, annual, three year subscription. 

CSA360 Software has four core values. First is the Business Mullet: we’ve got productivity with  personality! We bring authenticity to our workplace. Second is the White Glove Partnership:  client success is our focus. Through Quarterly Business Reviews, NPS scoring, trainer surveys  and monthly check ins, we strive to give the best service possible to our clients. Third is Street  Cred: this software was built by security professionals for security professionals. Our CEO, Tony  Unfried, started this business with over 20 year of security experience in the field. Finally, we  care about Proactive Innovation: using our resources to remain leaders in the industry.  

Our team’s mission is to create the best security software in the industry. We understand the  need to work proactively instead of reactively. With a leadership team looking laser-focused in  the same direction, at the same goals, it has served us well. 

How do your Core Values align the Big Picture with your Day-to-Day? 

Learn more about us at www.csa360software.com

Tony Unfried, CEO of CSA360, holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs and Criminal Justice from Indiana University, where he graduated with honors. While enrolled in his master’s program, Tony worked for The TJX Companies, Inc., leading the region in loss prevention and moving the company toward technology use in Security. Tony went on to join the most significant security company in Indiana, managing more than 500 employees and 50 sites, including the Indiana Convention Center, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center. Seeing a noticeable gap in technology use in the physical security sector, Tony created his first security software application, launched at the Super Bowl in 2012, and recognized twice for Excellence in Mobile Technology by Techpoint. Tony has also spoken on Tech in Physical Security on panels with ASIS and IAVM.

BIKE PATROL: A GREAT CHOICE FOR COMMUNITY RELATIONS 

Ellen LeMasters, American Bike Patrol

From the benefits bike patrol has had on law enforcement, all the way down to the positive
environmental values bike patrol puts forth, one may instead ask why not bike patrol? Bike
patrol was first invented in the mid-to-late 1800s, starting with a very heavy iron and wood pedal
bicycle. The bike patrol industry has continued to grow ever since it developed into the modern
diamond frame safety bicycle. Because of the ease that comes along with integrating bike patrol
into a community, bike patrol offers a better way to protect and serve a community in the most
cost-friendly manner.

Did you know that bike patrols result in more than twice as many contacts with the public than
vehicle patrols? The novelty of a police officer on a bike creates an atmosphere where members
of a culturally diverse community can start overcoming any negative perceptions that may have
been placed upon law enforcement from prior encounters with patrol cars. A bicycle patrol
officer has been proven to be more easily approachable than a car patrol officer.

Even more than just their role in community relations, bike patrol units also generate faster
response times than patrol cars due to the mobility and stealth bicycles have to offer, especially
with the introduction of Patrol eBikes. Bike patrol units can fit and maneuver into areas that
patrol cars cannot, such as squeezing into small alleyways, riding right up to the doors of
buildings, and even going down stairwells. They are also way less obvious and easy to point out
than patrol cars, making it harder for criminals to notice them approaching.

Along with their impact on community relations and visibility, bike patrol is drastically more cost
effective and environmentally safe than patrol cars. A fully outfitted bike costs around $1500,
requires no gas, and is lower maintenance, while also providing a significantly lower carbon
intake than patrol cars. Even at an average cost of $2500 per bike, which includes bike training
and bike maintenance, a police or security department can put a team of approximately 15-20
officers on bicycles for the price of one patrol unit. Even further, bike patrol units provide a
physical health benefit for patrol officers who have to stay active during their entire shift as they
are constantly cycling throughout their communities.

At American Bike Patrol Service, we are dedicated to serving law enforcement by covering any
needs when it comes to bike patrol. With over 25 years in the industry, hundreds of officers
trained from police departments, security agencies, military and private corporations, we
continue to utilize the knowledge we have gained from our experiences and years of product
testing in order to ensure that all clients are receiving the finest products and services that align
with their specific budget and needs. We as a company strive to help ensure safety within
communities by offering law enforcement and security with the best bike patrol services they
can receive.

 

“SIT DOWN AND BE COUNTED!” – Court Reiterates Duty To Provide Suitable Seating

Barry A. Bradley, Esq., Managing Partner, Bradley, Gmelich + Wellerstein, CALSAGA Legal Advisor

In California, an employee is entitled to use a seat while working if the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of a seat. An employer is required, in that circumstance, to provide the employee with a suitable seat.  

In the recently decided case of Meda vs. AutoZone, Inc., et. al. (7/19/2022), the California Court of Appeal reversed summary judgment in favor of the employer and sent the case back to the trial court level for trial on the issue of whether the employer “provided” suitable seating.  Although this case takes place in a retail store setting, the same rules apply to the security industry.

Facts:

Plaintiff and appellant Monica Meda (plaintiff) worked as a sales associate for about six months at an AutoZone auto parts store (store) operated by defendant and respondent AutoZoners, a Limited Liability Company (AutoZoners). After she resigned from her position, plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging one claim under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Lab. Code, § 2699 et seq.) (PAGA). She asserted that AutoZoners failed to provide suitable seating to employees at the cashier and parts counter workstations, and that some or all of the required work could be performed while sitting.

About 40% of plaintiff’s duties were performed at the cashier’s station, another 40% at the parts counter, and the remainder around the floor.  Plaintiff asserted that her time at the cashier’s station could have been performed while seated on a stool, and about half of her work at the parts counter could, likewise, have been performed while seated.  

California Wage Orders:

As a refresher, the court stated that “’wage and hour claims are today governed by two complementary and occasionally overlapping sources of authority: the provisions of the Labor Code, enacted by the Legislature, and a series of 18 wage orders, adopted by the [Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC)].” [Citation.] The IWC, a state agency, was empowered to issue wage orders, which are legislative regulations specifying minimum requirements with respect to wages, hours, and working conditions.’ ” [citations omitted.]

Although this case addresses wage order No. 7, the identical requirement is listed in Wage Order No. 4, applicable to security guards.  Specifically, it states:

“14. SEATS 

(A) All working employees shall be provided with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats. 

(B) When employees are not engaged in the active duties of their employment and the nature of the work requires standing, an adequate number of suitable seats shall be placed in reasonable proximity to the work area and employees shall be permitted to use such seats when it does not interfere with the performance of their duties.”

AutoZoners claimed that it satisfied the Wage Order requirement by providing two stools by the manager’s office, located around the corner (and out of sight) from the parts counter and the cashier stations.  Unfortunately, it did not provide any seating at these workstations nor did it advise any of the employees that they had a right to carry the stools to their workstations.  The court pointed out that even if the employees used the two stools, there were five to nine employees working at any given time, so there would have been a shortage if more than two wanted to use them at once.

Totality of the Job Duties:

Although the court did not focus on the issue as to whether an employer has an obligation to place a seat at every location (such as in an office setting where desks are located), it did provide some guidance. Citing to a Supreme Court decision, the court restated:  

“[W]hen evaluating whether the ‘nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats,’ courts must examine subsets of an employee’s total tasks and duties by location, such as those performed at a cash register or a teller window, and consider whether it is feasible for an employee to perform each set of location-specific tasks while seated. Courts should look to the actual tasks performed, or reasonably expected to be performed, not to abstract characterizations, job titles, or descriptions that may or may not reflect the actual work performed. Tasks performed with more frequency or for a longer duration would be more germane to the seating inquiry than tasks performed briefly or infrequently.” (Kilby, supra, 63 Cal.4th at p. 18, 201 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 368 P.3d 554.)

Result:

In reversing the summary judgment (which would have ended the case in favor of AutoZoners without the need for a trial), the court held:

“We conclude that where an employer has not expressly advised its employees that they may use a seat during their work and has not provided a seat at a workstation, the inquiry as to whether an employer has “provided” suitable seating may be fact-intensive and may involve a multitude of job-and workplace-specific factors.”

Lessons Learned For Security Employers:

In order to try to avoid PAGA or class action lawsuits based on suitable seating claims, employers should remember that each security post and assignment will be different and should be evaluated separately. Your employee handbook should make it clear that seats are available where the nature of the work would allow for their use. Employers should make the seats available where appropriate and notify employees of the same. This would satisfy the “providing suitable seating” requirement of the Wage Order according to this court. You can accomplish this analysis by incorporating suitable seating as part of your Post Site Survey performed at each of your accounts. 

Barry A. Bradley is the Managing Partner of Bradley, Gmelich & Wellerstein LLP located in Glendale, California, where he oversees the Employment and Business Teams at the firm.  A former Deputy District Attorney, Barry’s practice concentrates on representing business owners in employment, business and licensing issues, as well as defending litigated cases involving negligent security, employment and business related issues.  The firm acts as general counsel for many security companies in California.  Barry is a volunteer Legal Advisor to the California Association of Licensed Agencies, Guards, & Associates (CALSAGA), and multiple other non-profits.  

He has been conferred an AV-Preeminent Peer Rating by Martindale Hubbell, the highest rating attainable, and has been named a Southern California Super Lawyer for the past 16 consecutive years in the area of Business Litigation. Barry can be reached at bbradley@bgwlawyers.com / 818-243-5200.

About Bradley, Gmelich & Wellerstein LLP

Founded in 2000, Bradley, Gmelich & Wellerstein, LLP is dedicated to providing sound advice and exceptional results for our clients. Our twenty-five plus skilled, dedicated and diverse attorneys represent individuals and businesses of all sizes in a wide variety of business, employment law and litigation matters.  www.bgwlawyers.com.

TIPS FOR CHOOSING A SOFTWARE PARTNER

Tony Unfried, CSA360

As companies grow or become acquired, they tend to change; whether it’s an increase in price, a  decrease in customer service, or both. It’s important to be aware of these changes because it affects  the quality of service you receive. As you navigate your relationships with trusted partners, we’ve found  some best practices that can help you assess whether your needs are being met: 

The company you choose provides consistent outstanding client services. This is the most important  asset a partner can provide. Do your users have access to knowledge base articles? Do their support  tickets get fast and efficient responses? Your team should be able to ask questions and be provided with  high-quality answers. 

Does the company know your business goals? Is your trusted partner checking in quarterly to connect  with stakeholders to learn how they can support your growth? Do they know exactly what tools you will  need further down the pipeline? Maintaining clear communication is key so your partner can launch  new services the moment your team is ready. 

They supply hands-on training. Being able to work through real time scenarios with a highly trained  implementation specialist can make all the difference in your onboarding experience. Being able to learn  the software by doing is the best way to retain training. In addition, it’s important to have a key team  member to hold that knowledge to train new staff and manage any turnover that may occur. 

Along with training through real time scenarios, having homework scenarios prior to the next training  can be equally as helpful. It provides a challenge to learning the software and allows the trainers to see  what needs more focus and if trainees are truly retaining the information.  

Leadership in innovation. In this competitive market, companies grow by staying innovative.  Introducing new features and benefits can help improve the status quo. Receiving these  communications via newsletter or email can give you access to new features, often without any  additional cost. 

Company transparency is everything. Is your partner following through with promises made to their  client base, to the employees, and to their product? As some companies grow, their transparency can  become opaque. They focus less on the quality of what they provide and more on the quantity of who  they can provide too. 

The security landscape is constantly changing with new challenges to be met. It’s now more important  than ever to vet your choices. Plan a meeting with potential partners to find out what they’re about and  be ready to make the switch if they can’t provide these key aspects. You want to choose someone who  can provide you with unwavering customer support- a White Glove Partnership. 

Tony Unfried, CEO of CSA360, holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs and Criminal Justice from Indiana University, where he graduated with honors. While enrolled in his master’s program, Tony worked for The TJX Companies, Inc., leading the region in loss prevention and moving the company toward technology use in Security. Tony went on to join the most significant security company in Indiana, managing more than 500 employees and 50 sites, including the Indiana Convention Center, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center. Seeing a noticeable gap in technology use in the physical security sector, Tony created his first security software application, launched at the Super Bowl in 2012, and recognized twice for Excellence in Mobile Technology by Techpoint. Tony has also spoken on Tech in Physical Security on panels with ASIS and IAVM.