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Comment on Employment alcohol issue / consequence of no contract
June 29, 2023
Comment on Employment alcohol issue from article on June 14, 2023
          Alcoholism may be a protected disability, however drinking at work is not. Furthermore, drinking and driving is a crime.  
          Perhaps another option is to reach out to your local police department and have them do a BAC on him when he pulls into your parking lot. They would have jurisdiction to do this because he's operating a motor vehicle and showing signs of impairment.  You will know where he is and whether he is impaired based on your remote access dash cam.  You can then coordinate with the police department on the proper timing.  The advantage to doing it in your parking lot is that you then do not need to get the vehicle towed or removed from police impound. 
          While I certainly don't want to see your employee arrested, I am more concerned with endangering the welfare of the public on the road and endangering your customers with his impaired installation of life safety systems.  The ancillary benefit to this method is that an arrest on the job helps protect you from an "unjustified" termination lawsuit.
Name withheld
          I am going to respond without consulting with attorneys in my Employment Department.  If you are so convinced that an employee is drinking on the job it would probably be easier to simply exercise your right to terminate an At Will employee for any or no reason.  This would have to be done before the employee told you about a disability or you encouraged a conversation about that possibility.  Once you know the employee is in a protected class you have different considerations which would include trying to find accommodations and giving opportunity to remain on the job.  As a rule of thumb you should have a procedure of writing up employees for workplace infractions, having them acknowledge the written reprimand and once you have three written write-ups you can terminate for cause.  While you don’t need “for cause” [unless you’re in Montana] you will save on Unemployment Benefits if the termination is for cause [and you decide to fight the application for benefits]. 
          I am planning a comprehensive review of the K&K Employment Agreement and the K&K Handbook this summer, so send in your suggestions and get ready to update those forms.
Comment on Should you be willing to buy fire alarm accounts that have no or poor contracts from article on June 3, 2023
          I read with great amusement (probably wrong term) the response to the ‘you REALLY need good contracts – especially if you want to sell your accounts’….
Several years ago I was at an ISC show and bumped into a dealer I had not seen in decades ….
          We got chatting (you know me!) and I found out the reason for him being in such a ‘funk’….
          Several years prior he had been in a lawsuit as there was an ‘issue’ with a system and he had neither contract with the subscriber nor kept up his E&O insurance…
          Ultimately, not only did he lose his original company, he also lost EVERYTHING – INCLUDING HIS HOUSE!!!!   Apparently, the state he was in did not have a “Homestead Act” – protecting the ownership of his primary residence….
SO, those who don’t get GOOD contracts signed, you are putting EVERYTHING on the line for $50 or $100 per month – and the financial wellbeing of any employees you have!
          PS: We just completed a nice job and finally got paid – it was over $60,000 for the facility with their integrated system.
NOW, they are hitting me with their QA (quality assurance) legal document – which I informed them I will not be signing in its current state….
After reading (several times over) their legal document that allows them to come into my secured facility and do their own ‘audit’ – I was very tempted to retort – just try it….
Or as John Wayne said when asked if he brought gold or silver….nope, just LEAD!
 Joseph Pfefer, President and Founder
Jade Alarm Co.
          As some of you know I am a serving United States Bankruptcy Trustee so I know a few things about the consequences of suffering a judgment or getting in over your head financially.  While there is a Federal exemption for your residence in almost all states that exemption is relatively limited, especially when compared to the state exemption that you would be able to claim.  Some states have what would be considered a paltry amount for the exemption; other states have rather large monetary exemption that ends up sheltering most homes and other states have a full homestead exemption covering the entire residential property no matter how much it’s worth.  I doubt many people decide to reside in a state just because of the homestead exemption and when they do they are likely on their way to needing that exemption. 
          Potential for liability in the alarm industry for claims is, I think, rare and the reason for that is that most alarm companies use alarm contracts [in one form or another – though most alarm companies use the K&K Standard Forms – well I can only state that they bought the K&K contracts, not sure if they use them or use them without making enough changes so they are no longer recognizable] and most alarm companies carry E&O liability coverage, so at least their defense cost is covered and a sizable amount of damages depending on the coverage limits. 
          An alarm company that doesn’t use contracts [or doesn’t make sure every single customer signs one] and doesn’t carry E&O is looking for more trouble than they will be able to handle.  Your old acquaintance found that out the hard way.
          Solution is easy.  Get and keep your K&K contracts up to date, use them religiously and carry E&O coverage. 

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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