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Comment on ADT peeping tom - illegal acts of your employees keeping you up at night
March 2, 2021
illegal acts of your employees keeping you up at night
          Other than being particularly heinous, to steal a phrase from TV...  I see little difference here than a runner being in cahoots with a central station operator or a tech bypassing devices to organize a burglary. 
          There have been dozens of these cases over the years. The alarm company had no control over two (or in some cases) more bad actors. And its contract shouldn’t be any less “secure” because a crime was committed.  
          Should ADT be held accountable for selling a product that didn’t include features that would make it more secure?  (Note the word more, because nothing is infallible). Other than the accompanying PR train wreck, This is the central question.  
          The general rule of law is that an employer is not liable for the criminal acts of its employees when they are acting outside the scope of their employment.  By definition, criminal activity is most likely outside the scope of employment. [an exception may be Murder Incorporated, but I think they dissolved]. 
          Long time ago my client’s guards tripped the alarm, waited for the police to leave, and then used the keys to rob a fur warehouse.  Shows you how long ago it was because it might be hard to find a fur warehouse these days, and probably not worth the effort to steal the goods.  The case was successfully defended because the employer was not liable for the illegal acts of the employees.  Of course the employer had no inkling that the guards were bad actors, and did nothing that contributed to the guard’s actions. 
          Employers can be liable for negligent hiring.  Probably not a good idea to hire from the Sex Offender list. 
          Whether ADT is going to be found liable for using non-secure equipment or procedures that permitted the peeping tom from committing his illicit deeds remains to be seen.  It’s not likely a contractual issue.  You likely can’t contract to avoid liability for this kind of exposure.

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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