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Comment on gross negligence, willful misconduct, and reckless conduct / K&K holiday party tonight / Contract sale ends tomorrow
December 8, 2022
Holiday party tonight – K&K’s holiday party is tonight.  If you’re planning on coming and haven’t RSVP’ed yet then call Amy at 516 747 6700 x 313 or Diana or Amanda at ext 0.  If not feeling well, don’t come.  No colds allowed. 
Contract sale ends tomorrow - see below
Comment on gross negligence, willful misconduct, and reckless conduct from article on December 3, 2022
          We had a technician employee who we noticed was slacking off, disappearing during the day and taking much too much time completing tasks.  We fired this employee for idling over 400 hours in the last 12 months and driving out of his way to go home over 50 times. Shame on us for not catching this sooner. I hired someone to focus on efficiency a couple of months ago, and she’s the one who noticed this. 
          When I dug deeper and started looking at the work orders and days when he worked on various projects where we had significant issues; the installation took far longer than it should have; He left the job site several times during some of the installations. At the time we figured he was cautious and taking his time with the installs.
          To our knowledge, the systems worked when he left each time. There are occasions where we found issues a week or two later when doing a second look at the work. We try our best to audit everything remotely, but with the volume of work, sometimes it takes us a week or two to go through everything a second time after the installation. This is something we need to change. Possibly have a second man do random inspections of more critical systems. We have implemented a policy of sending in before and after photos of each device installed. 
          After we fired him for idling/aimlessly driving around, which he flat-out denied at termination we learned of the significant mistakes he made. One, in particular, he strapped out an entire zone module responsible for monitoring a critical area and neglected to connect another. Luckily this was caught quickly by us, and we fixed it. We found he left that job site three times during the installation, each time idling down the street or in the parking lot, moving from place to place. My guess is his leaving each time resulted in these mistakes. 
          I don’t think anyone could prove willful misconduct or gross negligence on his part. There’s no evidence of that with this tech. However, after reviewing many of his service tickets and installations, he clearly lacked the skill set to do this work. Or he was just lazy/reckless? 
          We have both your Employment Contract and Handbook now. The handbook was signed by this employee but not the contract, as he was hired before I purchased the Employment Contract from K&K
          Does the Handbook and Employment Contract help to protect us in addition to the Standard All in One contracts?
          If an employee has not signed the Employment Contract is it appropriate for me to require them to sign now to continue their employment? It’s challenging for a small security company to oversee everyone’s work. Even when we require full systems testing it’s not hard for the tech to short the terminals on the zone modules to fake signals then strap everything out so the customer can arm the system.
          If we’re sued are we fully responsible for the actions of an employee who did not follow our procedures? Is there any way to pass that along to the employee?
          Techs must undergo extensive training and get licensed in our state.  The tech we fired has been in the industry for over ten years. Not exactly a new guy, and with an active license, it’s a shame we can’t expect him to come to us with a basic foundation of how systems should be installed and tested correctly and then to do it. 
    You raise several interesting points.  But first, you can't hold your employee responsible.  Your remedy is to fire him, which you did.  I suggest you report him to the licensing agency as well to protect the next employer or customer, or at least to clear your conscious.
    You are on notice that this employee was lax to say the least and potentially intentional while working on systems.  I suggest that the prudent move would be to get around to checking out his work to confirm that systems are working.  Jumped out zones are hard to detect.  While your customers may not ever know the full history of your investigation and findings you may have documented the findings in your records.  A serious enough loss may cause a law firm to pursue thorough discovery all of your records.  
    Whether you would be chargeable with gross negligence at this point for not finding and fixing a system is debatable. Some effort to investigate and correct this former employee's work would likely be sufficient to separate you from gross negligence.  Certainly factors that would be considered when and if there is a loss would be the areas of protection, property and persons on site, intended design of the system and the nature of the damage or loss.  Horrible facts make for bad law.  
          I disagree with your assessment that your employee could not be charged with gross negligence.  Strapping out, which I assume equates with jumping out, is intentional.  Forgetting to connect a wire may be mere negligence, but not when you decide not to do it and conceal that you didn’t do it.  But your employee’s gross negligence is not necessarily your gross negligence, unless you know about this employee’s propensities.  Your former employee wasn’t just negligent; the conduct you describe smacks of gross negligence, willfulness and reckless conduct, evincing an indifference to the consequences of his actions.  You would need to, and you did, get rid of this employee immediately.
          I can’t help repeating a story I’ve mentioned many times.  Long time ago I asked my alarm client how he kept track of his technician so that the tech didn’t use his equipment on his time to do the tech’s personal jobs on the side.  His answer was just as perspective then as it is now: “If he’s doing that I don’t want to know about it”.  Why?  Same reason then as now, techs are hard to come by.  More up to date, doing alarm company valuations is now influenced not only by how many and kinds of accounts there are, how much RMR and what kind of RMR, but also how many techs come with the deal, and other employees as well.  Most employers have realized that it’s easier to get someone to work for you then to fire them.  Retaining good employees is essential to your business operation.  It’s natural to be reluctant to toss a rotten apple if you’re not sure it’s totally rotten and can’t be salvaged.  But keeping the lid on the barrel and not looking is not the answer.  You can’t sell that barrel with rotten apples and claim you didn’t bother to check.  And of course we aren’t talking about apples; we are talking about life safety and property loss; security, fire and environmental potential loss from minor to catastrophic.
          You are responsible to your subscribers for breaching the contract if your employee makes a mistake or possibly acts with indifference.  While you may not be liable if your tech returns to a subscriber’s premises and burglarizes it or starts a fire, clearly acts well beyond the scope of the employee’s job, errors, negligence or intentional, while ostensibly working on the job in furtherance of an installation, service or inspection, could be gross negligence.  Your E&O coverage should cover you; the protective provisions in your alarm contract won’t because just about all states prohibit enforcement of one or more or all of the protective clauses if gross negligence is proved.  Fortunately for the alarm industry there are few instances where that burden has been met by those suing alarm companies [I can’t recall any]. 
          What are your best practices?  Well, you’re in a state where employee techs are required to be licensed in their own right, which means meeting the state’s minimum requirements for skill and I can only assume character and criminal record.  Once having met those requirements you as employer should be in the position to learn a great deal more about the employee.  You do need to have some procedure for supervision and overlapping responsibilities.  And, as I think you have now learned, you cannot not and should not ignore your suspicions about employees who are not doing their job.  All employers dread going into an office and desk of a departing employee and finding all the dark secrets of mishandling matters.  That is of course much more serious when the departing employee has been installing and servicing alarm system.         
          I had one company sell alarm accounts to another.  Turns out the seller’s tech had jumped out many areas of protection on many jobs.  It came to light when burglars successfully entered through a sliding glass kitchen door with a jumped out contact.  Never was established whether the seller owner actually know about this conduct.  The buyer made appropriate deductions in the payout but was also tasked with contacting hundreds of customers offering to survey and check out the alarm systems, without charge. 
          The Employment Contract lays out what’s expected, job responsibilities, restrictions, etc.  That contract permits termination of employment for many reasons and at will.  The Handbook will address working issues in far more detail, often giving the employer or employee rights, so you have to be careful what you include in both documents.  K&K will give you an Employment Agreement that you can fill in the blanks and not change the terminology.  For the Handbook, K&K will send you a draft but we will also need your feedback on many details that will hopefully govern the employment relationship.  You should have both of these documents and every employee except owners should sign these documents.  What about existing employees?  Yes, they too should sign the documents and if they won’t and don’t have what you consider a good reason [and I suggest you run it by me] then terminate them, as hard a choice that may be for you [because it’s really not your choice, but theirs]. 

Special Holiday Contract Sale on select contracts / 50% OFF / see details and save thousands
          The following Standard Form Agreements are on holiday sale through December 9, 2022.  Order any of these contract forms and we will discount the price by 50% off the published price*.  Concierge Clients will get an additional 10% off the discounted price. 
* The full list price will appear when you order but we will discount before processing the order; no need to call us
          These contracts are not discounted in the Annual Sale and have never been discounted before.  Total savings up to $3,822.50.  [another $382.50 for Concierge Clients]
          All of these Standard Form Agreements are up to date, will be customized with company name, address, phone and license, and delivered by end of this year by email.  All contract forms are found on K&K’s contract order page at

DIGITAL SIGN AND DISPLAY SALES, HOSTING AND SERVICE  list price $875 Your saving $437.50
          Includes installing of digital box and media player, hosting and administrative services and repair service.  Design creation also included.  This is for commercial customers. This is for digital signs and displays

HOME WATCH SERVICE   list price $995   Your saving $497.50
          Provide home watch service for vacant home; itemized list of inspection and service areas.  This is for residential consumers; customized state by state. Come with Rider for special instructions and additional services

VIRTUAL DOORMAN    list price $1,250   Your saving $625
          VIRTUAL DOORMAN STANDARD SUPERVISORY VIDEO, AUDIO, AND ACCESS CONTROL, SALES, MONITORING & SERVICE AGREEMENT.  Cameras with two-way audio for access control and "escort" service throughout a building or property under surveillance

          Tired of your customer using your estimate and information to put out a bid or negotiate with a competitor.  use this confidentiality agreement to protect your estimate and specifications

ANSWER SERVICE with questionnaire  list price $500   Your saving $250
          Standard Answering Service agreement with client questionnaire

COMPUTER CONSULTING list price $725  Your saving $362.50
          Consulting only; no repair service

COMPUTER CONSULTING, SALE, SERVICE, HOSTING  list price $875  Your saving $437.50
          Computer consulting sale, service, per call or service plan, website hosting

PBX SYSTEM AND HOSTED COMMERCIAL SERVICE  list price $875  Your saving $437.50
          Select sale or lease format. Select residential or commercial. Voip telephone system equipment sale and installation. Over-ride on VoIP hosted service and RMR for extended warranty and repair service. Generic form.  Call K&K Contract Administrator Eileen Wagda for selection of form: 516 747 6700 x 312

GPS MONITORING  list price $875   Your saving $437.50
          [single state only] vehicle or personal

To order up to date Standard Form Alarm /  Security / Fire and related Agreements click here:

To order up to date Standard Form Alarm /  Security / Fire and related Agreements click here:
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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