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Can you fire employee for not wearing mask and other grooming issues / ISC meetings
March 6, 2023
Can you fire employee for not wearing mask and other grooming issues
          This Tucker Carlson clip might be something you want to weigh in on. It was sent to me over the weekend by an integrator. It discusses the legality of firing a technician over not wearing a mask on the job.
          Tucker Carlson makes it seem like the masking decision was based on the wealth and power of the client, but from what I have been told, the homeowner has a high risk medical condition and asked that all technicians be masked on the jobsite. The company is Amplified Lifestyles based in Hayward, Calif.
          The interesting aspect is the technician’s attorney who says a mask cannot be mandated to be worn.

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          Most states are “at will” employment, which means an employer can terminate an employee at any time and for any reason.  The “any reason” does not however include any category of protected class for discrimination based on sex, religion, race or color.  Barring that caveat however, employers can terminate for any reason and sometimes it’s best not to try and explain why, though employees discharged in the “heat of the moment” will certainly know why. 
          Broadening the topic, what about dress, hair style, general grooming, such as make-up for women?  You might be surprised to know that, except for the make-up, which may be sexist, an employer can fire an employee who violates grooming rules [I hesitate to call it employer whims].
          There are of course other exceptions to the “at will” rules.  First of all, Montana is the only state with no “at will” rule.  In Montana an employer needs a “good” reason to fire an employee.  Employees covered by an employment agreement, company policies expressed in a handbook and those in a union [who essentially have a contract] have the contractual protection and employers must follow the contract procedure for termination or risk a lawsuit for wrongful discharge. 
          I have consistently recommended that you have every employee sign an Employment Agreement and for companies with more than 10 employees have a company Handbook.  There is insurance coverage you can get covering employee issues such as hostile workplace and wrongful discharge and you might want to check that out, though I don’t view it as vital as E&O coverage.
          Here is a pretty good guide which I got from the website:
          At-Will Employment States:
All states in the U.S., excluding Montana, are at-will. Most do have exceptions, but the states of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Nebraska, Maine, New York, and Rhode Island do not allow any exceptions.
Common Exceptions to At-Will Employment:
1. Public sector employment.
Public workers are not typically subject to at-will employment.
2. Unionized jobs.
Union workers may have collective bargaining agreements that exempt them from at-will employment.
3. Contract basis employment.
Contract workers may have a contract with their employer that exempts them.
4. An employee refusing to violate public policy.
At-will does not apply when employees refuse to violate public policy or take action that is protected by public policy. The exception does not apply in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, and Florida.
5. An employee taking actions protected by public policy.
At-will does not apply when employees take action that is protected by public policy. This includes whistleblowing or reporting of unsafe or illegal activity. The exception does not apply in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, and Florida.
6. An employer implying that there is a contract.
In all but 14 states employees may not have at-will status if the employer implies a contract. The 14 states include Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia.
7. A breach of good faith by the employer.
At-will does not apply if there has been a breach of good faith by the employer. For example, firing someone to deny a retirement package. This applies in 11 states. The 11 states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Idaho, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.
8. An employer discriminating.
At-will employment does not apply if an employee is terminated due to discrimination.
9. An employee refusing to do something illegal.
At-will employment does not apply if an employee is terminated for refusing to do something that is illegal.
10. An employer retaliating against union members.
If an employer terminates employees for union activity, at-will employment does not apply.
Final Thoughts:
That should help you to determine if your employees are at-will, and help you avoid situations that nullify your at-will status.

ISC West group and private meetings

         Dealers, if you want to schedule a private or group  meeting with me or vendors [central stations, Reitman, AIN, brokers, consultants] let me know and I will set it up.  I am going to schedule group discussion meetings and private meetings.  To reserve a spot at a group or private meeting please contact Stacy Spector,Esq. 1 516 747 6700 x 304 or, K&K’s Concierge Program coordinator [you don’t have to be a Concierge Client to reserve a spot].  Topics, private meetings and schedule are TBD.
          I will be available for private meetings and consultation.  I will also coordinate and attend, if you like, private meetings with some of those who will be participating in group discussion meetings. 
          Anyone who wants to lead a group discussion or have ideas for a discussion should contact me to be included in the schedule.
          The following are some of the group meetings I am planning [and will coordinate private meetings with these industry experts]
    Still time for lenders, brokers, consultants, central stations and other vendors to sign up schedule private or group meetings. We will coordinate. Call Stacy today 1 516 747 6700 x 304

  *  What buyers look for and how they evaluate your business.  Meet one of the most active buyers of central stations, alarm companies and alarm accounts paying the highest multiples.
  *  How lenders view your company and decide on financing your business or your acquisition. Meet one of the most active lenders in the alarm industry
*  How the value of your alarm RMR is calculated and how non-RMR is calculated.  Meet one of the most knowledgeable tax and business consultants in the alarm industry
  *  What you should expect from your central station and what you can expect at the top central station in the business.
  *  Employee Retention Credit:  meet with tax expert to discuss if you’re eligible
  *  Alarm contracts:  which ones you need and which ones you should have.  Group or private meeting with Ken Kirschenbaum
  *  Buy-Sell deals:  Thinking about or ready to sell?  Meet with Ken Kirschenbaum to discuss best ways to increase value and get ready to sell or buy.
  *  AIN buying group.  Meet with Stan Matysiak in group or privately, time well spent
  *  Brokers:  discuss options and what to expect
  *  Thinking of selling:  Discuss multiples and what your company is worth
  *  E&O coverage: What's available; what do you need; where to get it

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301