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Why does the alarm industry pay so poorly?
July 15, 2019
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Title:  What security integrators must know about cybersecurity
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When:  July 16, 2019  12 -1 PM EST
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Why does the alarm industry pay so poorly?
            Why does the alarm industry pay so poorly?  Renowned attorney Les Gold, in his monthly column, critiqued a case in Chicago IL where former security guards sued their former employer for failing to pay Chicago’s minimum wage requirement.  The security company employer was licensed by the state of Illinois.  The former employees claimed they were assigned to work in the Chicago area and therefore should have been paid the minimum wage and received the sick pay and leave benefits mandated by Chicago.
            The state’s Private Detective Act, which applies to alarm and locksmith companies, as well as private detective and private security companies, all licensed by the state, requires employee training, continued education, firearm registration, uniforms, fingerprints and id cards.  The Private Detective Act, a state law, includes a “home rule” provision that preserves the right to regulate the business of security companies to the state.  The employer established that Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection does not enforce Chicago’s minimum wage against security companies.  The case by the former employees was dismissed.
            But that’s not what caught my attention.  Chicago sets a minimum wage for non-tipped employees that is higher than the state’s minimum wage.  As of July 1, 2019 Chicago’s minimum wage for non-tipped employees is $13 an hour.  Illinois minimum wage is $8.25 an hour.  
            So what were these armed security guards being paid?  Can it be that the security industry pays less than the fast food burger joints?  Seems to me that doing any kind of security work should warrant better pay than flipping burgers [a skill I do value, by the way – I do suppose that working in a fast food establishment can be as detrimental to your health as working in the security industry].  
            Is this the industry's way of insuring the validity of its [well accepted] argument that the contract protective provisions, in particular the limitation of liability clause, should be enforced as a matter of contract and public policy so that alarm companies can keep their prices affordable to the public?
            I realize that the alarm industry is caught between a rock and a hard place.  DIY on one hand and stiff competition on the other perpetuates low prices for security work.  
            I think the alarm and security industry needs to consider its pay scale.  That may mean increased prices to customers, and probably will.  There should be an appreciation for trained alarm technicians.  These guys aren’t just sticking on foil and dragging wires.  Yes, they also need to know how to program and connect with the Internet.  Hopefully alarm company owners will manage to pay realistic wages and be able to make well deserved profits, and still be able to pay hefty legal fees.

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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