June 30, 2015

“There’s So Much Stuff”

By Paul Bieber

This is what my daughter, Jessica, said Monday morning as we walked around our house. We were joined by 60 people for dinner Friday evening following the wedding rehearsal. The wedding of Jessica and Bobby took place on Saturday with 220 guests. What an absolutely beautiful evening indeed.

Then the rain hit late Saturday night, and the all-night party and bonfire was transferred into the house and our fireplace. Maybe 40 folks here sleeping in tents and sleeping bags. Sunday morning, we had an open house for breakfast, and about 100 people came to the house; some stayed all day. We held this inside as the tent was blown apart during the freak storm late on Saturday!

We all went to bed on Sunday, and Monday morning started on the house and yard.  Jessica’s quote, “There’s so much stuff,” was perfect. People left stuff everywhere in an array that would put the average lost and found to shame. Do you need a phone charger? Do you wear a size 44 sports jacket? How about reading glasses? How about a black fleece jacket?

What does this have to do with running a glass business? Actually, a lot. I’m sure some of the electronics we found were provided by an employer. You can ask a terminated or resigning employee to return supplied equipment in a usable condition. And you can withhold money from a final paycheck if something is not returned. You can’t do this randomly and without some legal advice for your state, but this is the general outline:

Put a page in your employee handbook stating that items supplied to you are the property of the company and shall be returned in a serviceable condition when you leave the company. If you write a new handbook, this is easy. If you have a good handbook where this is not included, you can write a new page and give it to each employee. Have them sign a receipt that says the page is read and understood. For each employee, create a unique list:  some have a car, some cell phones or computers, and some have specialized measuring equipment. List the equipment, an identifying serial number, and the cost of replacement. Clearly state on this form that the items belong to the company and must be returned, or funds will be withheld. 

Don’t list manual tools, tape measures or generally items under $100. Some companies list the safety gear given to just about every employee, as good safety gear will exceed $100. You cannot charge for things returned broken in most states. You also cannot charge if this has not been placed in your handbook, or there is no receipt for the items the employee has.

Lost items are a special section. If an employee loses a $500 cell phone, what do you do? Speak with your lawyer for each state you do business in. In most states without a clearly written program, you can’t charge for lost material. You can, though,  suspend or terminate an employee for poor job behavior. This is an extreme situation for a good employee who accidentally loses his phone. 

Have questions on this? Send me the page in your employee manual that currently exists, and I’ll be glad to take a look at it. Or you can just call with a question. There is no consulting charge for this service for the readers of USGlass! My phone number is 603-242-3521, and my email is: paulbaseball@msn.com.

And the best part of all, our son, Philip, is getting married in 12 days at the home of his fiancée. We get to do this again!