Adams Stirling PLC


QUESTION: Our association has a large onsite staff. A police officer attended our staff meeting because of recent security incidents affecting our employees. He said we should issue pepper spray to them for their safety. I am concerned about liability.

ANSWER: While it's appropriate to be concerned about liability, it should not outweigh the safety of your employees. If there is a foreseeable risk of harm to your staff and the association does nothing, you could have a bigger liability problem if an employee is attacked and injured.

Proper Product. If you issue pepper spray to employees, make sure you get the right product. Do not get tear gas. Unless you know what to purchase, you should buy from a California store rather than the internet since different states have different laws. A California store will carry the proper type of pepper spray. Also, don't buy the key chain size; get something larger.

Proper Training. To protect against potential liability, get your employees certified to use it. Like any weapon, the first step is education and training. You should have a written policy and instruct your employees that pepper spray is only for self-defense, not for apprehending criminals (or subduing unruly board members).

Proper Control. Keep the product locked up when not in use to keep it out of the reach of children and unauthorized adults. You should keep a log where employees check the product in and out with each shift. Otherwise, it may disappear.

Recommendation: Talk to legal counsel and a security consultant to see if other measures can be taken to protect employees without issuing pepper spray. If you need the product, they can assist with guidelines and proper training.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

Adams Stirling PLC