Nightclub Paperwork: Employee Handbooks

This week we return to the wonderful world of Paperwork. Paperwork serves several purposes, from keeping track of equipment to telling your employees how to do their job. We will focus on the latter in this week’s blog post.


Did I get your attention? Good. Now, let me backtrack. Employee Handbooks are surprisingly not required by law. This is probably due to the huge amount of conflicting laws that each state and the federal government have in regards to employment. However, I would highly recommend that you create one for your establishment.


Because an Employee Handbook provides your employees with a set of protocols for how things will be handled at your place of business. This in turn is important because is covers your behind when dealing with everything from perceived favoritism to sexual harassment charges. If every employee receives a manual, they will know that a set of policies and procedures will be followed and (hopefully) applied fairly to each person you employ.

From a managerial point of view, everything in an Employee Handbook can be used to protect you. From what? Wrongful termination claims. Discrimination claims.  Sexual harassment claims. You are protected in that the Handbook will contain a Code of Conduct for employees (including management) that establishes expectations for appropriate workplace behavior. And since employees sign off on the handbooks they receive (usually AFTER they read them), you have a record that the employee read and understood the contents of the Handbook. That means they know the rules!

What if an employee does break the rules? Your Handbook should include disciplinary procedures as well as procedures for filing employee complaints. This way the employee knows what they can or cannot do on the job AND what procedures to follow should they see a co-worker/manager doing something they perceive as wrong.

Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive

Things will go wrong and your employees should know how to proceed when they do. But an Employee Handbook should contain positive components as well. The story of your company, its history, its culture. All are important parts of getting your employees to understand the how’s and why’s of the way you work.

And every employee wants to know their rights, responsibilities, benefits, and compensation. All things that make people actually show up to work! Don’t forget that the positive components of employment should also be highlighted: time-off policies, vacations, and any flexible work schedule guidlines.

What To Include?

Here is a short list what you should consider in your Employee Handbook

  • Equal Employment Opportunity
  • Employment At-Will (may vary by State)
  • ADA Act
  • Policy Against Sexual Harassment/Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures
  • Drug & Alcohol Policies
  • Employee Information (Attire, Equipment, Behavior, etc.)
  • Disciplinary Action
  • Scheduling/Shift Coverage/Sick Leave
  • Job Descriptions by Position

The list can literally go on for pages. I would suggest that you Google Search a few terms and see if you can’t find a format that works for you. Another option is to go out and buy some software. Your Employee Handbooks need not be 60, 50, or even 20 pages long. But they do need to contain the information pertinent to your establishment and the way you conduct business.

Until next time…


Coast Executive Services does more than Security Consulting.

We think it is important to be an active part of our community and to teach our community members to be active participants in their own safety and security. As such, we have partnered with CrossFit Pacific Coast to teach a Women’s Self Defense Course.

Our next class will be July 28th.


WHEN: Saturday, July 28th. 12pm – 4pm
WHERE: CrossFit Goodland
COST: $95

With a combined 50 years of martial arts training, personal protection experience, and self-defense study, Traver Boehm and Miguel DeCoste will show you how to recognize, avoid, and if necessary, defend yourself during a potentially violent encounter.

This course will dispel myths about martial arts and self-defense, help you to identify the signs that a violent encounter is imminent, and teach you the practical skills necessary to defend yourself in any physically threatening situation.


* Fears, Myths, and Realities of Physical Assaults
* Attackers and their Patterns
* Safety and Situational Awareness (Street, Office, and Home)
* Using Your Body’s Natural Weapons
* Physical Drills and Scenarios

This 4-hour seminar will be informational and physical in nature. Be prepared to think hard, get physical, and sweat. The techniques that will be taught are basic, but extremely effective. What is taught in this class, if used when needed, will save your life!

Contact Crossfit Goodland for more information:  (805) 455-5653

Deflecting blame…

I would love to make you feel better and tell you that every night that you work at a Bar or Nightclub was going to wonderful, free of incidents, and full of satisfied Patrons. But I’m not going to. The more likely scenario is that you will be bored, an ejection or two will occur, and at least a handful of customers will complain.

Handling complaints is one of the things that Nightclub Security Staffers have to do on a VERY regular basis. From too long a wait for drinks to a cover charge that is too expensive, someone is going to complain about it…and someone is going to have to deal with the complaint. Whether you are Head of Security or a Roamer, the person hearing the complaint will probably YOU, based solely on the fact that YOU are standing there to hear it.

Just because handling complaints is part of your job doesn’t make it enjoyable or even amusing. Well, sometimes it can be amusing. But the times that it is not amusing can make for very frustrating conversations. These conversations, especially when talking to an intoxicated Patron, often devolve into a back and forth that goes nowhere.* This is usually the point at which less experienced Staffers will lose their cool and begin the ejection process. There is however, a way to get completely out of the way of a conversation before it starts to devolve:


At most times in your life, deflecting the blame is often seen as using an excuse (which it is) or not taking responsibility for your actions (also a possibility), both of which can come back to bite you in the behind. But in a Bar/Nightclub environment this tactic can not only take the problem out of your hands, but make you look like the good guy/gal.

People view people in positions of authority with either disdain or admiration, depending on the authority figure’s actions. In the Nightclub setting, the authority figure is generally the Manager or Head of Security. And everyone who walks in the door knows that the final say will rest on the shoulders of either or these individuals. Why not use this to your advantage?

In some circumstances, a deflection of blame should be the first thing out of the gate! Should you have to approach a table full of loud individuals, which is the easier approach:

  1. “Keep it down! You’re getting out of hand!”
  2. “Excuse me, but my Manager was wondering if you could tone it down a bit. He’s been getting complaints.”

#2 will usually do the trick. It makes you seem like the Good Guy, just following orders.

Another example would be at the Front Door. An individual walks up out of Dress Code and you deny them entry. If they start to complain, which is the better response?

  1. “I already told you, you can’t get in dressed like that. Go away.”
  2. “I would usually let you in, but my boss is being really tough on us in terms of dress code. Sorry.”

Again, blame deflected. You would let them in, but it is not up to you! I have heard some Security Staffers go so far as to badmouth their boss to Patrons in order to make them happy. I personally wouldn’t go that route, but it seemed to work at the time.

The other bonus to deflecting blame higher up the food chain is that the HOS/Manager are usually “too busy” to hear the complaint that is being fed to you. That means there is no further recourse for the Patron. You’ve “done your best, but you can’t do anymore.” It works wonders. Add this deflection tactic to your bag of tricks and see how it works!

Until next time…

* We will be discussing “Circular Conversations” in the near future.