Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Admission of Guilt?

Seal Failure is a common problem for window manufacturers.

Leaks about Leaks!

We have a new email leak that is an apparent admission of guilt... or at least knowledge of an issue described in a previous blog post as "seal failure" and described below as a "leaking gasket" issue.  

TSDC has known about this product flaw and its causes for a long time and it has plagued them and their factory (not to mention their customers) - especially because it seems intermittent (I explain why in the previous blog post - but don't tell them).   

Our complaints page is filled with people who have experienced fogging and leaking issues with TSDC's glass products and have been told to try special "glass cleaner" until their warranty expires.  Clearly, this is a product flaw.  Why doesn't The Sliding Door Company address it?

The CEO Steps In

The email below is from Doron Polus, the company's CEO.  It indicates that not only he but others within the company knew about the seal-failure issue (I know I did) and that cleaning the glass was considered (by him) to be an option - EVEN if it meant removing the glass from the frame!  
Doron Polus <dp@slidingdoorco.com>
1/9/2015 11:08:45 AM
Hi all,
Please prepare a sketch of how to clean a door that has leaking gasket.
One without removing frame and the other with.
Please talk between yourself to come up with the best ideas.
I must have it ASAP.
Thank you,
Doron Polus

So, we, the employees, were being asked by our company CEO to produce ideas and sketches (it's always helpful when sketches accompany lame ideas) to support the cleaning of a product that cannot be cleaned - in order to dupe our customers into keeping a bad product.

Why can't the glass be cleaned?

The gaskets "leak" an oily residue constantly.  Wiping that residue away is a temporary solution requiring the application of caustic chemicals.  The only solution is to replace the gasket.

Hopefully, the process of removing the frame (described above) and replacing the gasket is intended to be done by factory people, not customers or their contractors, but then why the need for instructions and sketches?  Was the CEO suggesting that this is a viable solution for end-users of his product?  After paying thousands of dollars?

The idea of working with the factory to prevent this from happening in the first place may come to him someday.  Meanwhile, be on the lookout for more Glass Cleaning Instructions from The Sliding Door Company.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Why ADA laws matter

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA
became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

Americans with Disabilities are a huge portion of our population. Notably, they include American Disabled VETERANS who have served our country most of which now want to work in the workforce.  

What does it say about an American door manufacturer who avoids complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act?  There seem to be only two possibilities - ignorance or intention.  Because I pointed out the ADA violations I know it isn't because of ignorance (anymore).  And we already discovered there is a "profit" motive (pre-cut door frames).

Accessibility requirements with regard to doors are described here and here and here.  Obviously, anybody who is in the business of manufacturing commercial doors for sale in America MUST comply with ADA regulations.  

This fact seems to have gone over the head of The Sliding Door Company.  They apparently regularly violate ADA regulations to save money.  I have described a couple of the problems here and here but there are also ADA violation issues with regard to their threshold ramps which I will describe in a future blog post.  Their product catalogs describe these products as ADA compliant so their customers have no reason to question this until a lawsuit is filed against their CUSTOMER for ADA violations.  Apparently, that's VERY easy to do.

So, door manufacturers who want to keep their customers and who don't want to violate the law need to be diligent about ADA regulations and ensuring that their products comply COMPLETELY.  

Door manufacturers who put profit above the disabled, safety and the law need not comply.


1) My father was a disabled veteran.  
2) I've been a technical illustrator for ADA guideline books for almost 20 years.  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Witness this...

In a previous blog post, I suggested that The Sliding Door Company might be getting "cold feet" about giving testimony at a deposition.  I suggested their testimony might not align well with the provable facts.  It won't.

It wouldn't be right for me to complain if I hadn't ALREADY given my own testimony to TSDC's new attorneys.  

Indeed, I had to drag my butt to downtown LA, pay $40 for parking, and spend a whole day testifying to their attorneys - a prestigious nationally known law firm.

They grilled me for a whole day... with questions like "What was your first job when you graduated high school... and what was your next job after that..."  It was, indeed, exhausting.  I can imagine nobody enjoys giving testimony in a deposition, but it is part of the legal process and has to be done.

So, I went into the "lion's den" and answered their questions truthfully.  The environment was very pleasant, their attorneys were very polite.

They didn't get what they wanted from me however.  I suspect they were looking for some sort of admission that I had received the "Employee Handbook" despite not having signed the receipt for it.  They came up empty-handed in this regard.  Other documents which actually displayed my signature, I had no problem identifying and confirming.

All-in-all, I think I did pretty good in my deposition.  I was truthful, and encountered no questions I had difficulty answering honestly.  I was asked about ADA issues and questioned about how I identified them.  I was asked about safety issues and questioned about how I identified those.  

Almost comically, their attorney asked me if I could quote the International Building Code and ADA guidelines, by number, that The Sliding Door Company was in violation of (as I have done throughout this blog).  Of course, without the code books in front of me, I could not.

Their attorney was questioning my competence and knowledge with regard to architecture and engineering.  I have 40 years of architecture and engineering experience.  I think I might have frustrated their attorney's efforts to suggest I was speculating on safety and ADA issues.

At the end of the day, there were still a few questions remaining - especially regarding the invasion of my privacy and spyware installed on my home computer. The deposition may have to be continued.

It gets better...

As we were packing up (off the record) The Sliding Door Company's attorney apparently lost composure.  I was informed that TSDC's attorneys were reading my blog... THIS blog.  Furthermore, it was suggested that I had made public the name of the person who had breast cancer surgery in this blog post.  Since I didn't know who might have had breast cancer surgery at the time, I was confident I had NOT identified anyone on my blog and told them so.  In defending this accusation, TSDC's OWN ATTORNEY identified the person who had "emergency breast cancer surgery" TO ME.  

Let me say that again...

The Sliding Door Company's attorney representing one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the country, apparently broke the most sacred of trusts, attorney-client privilege and gave extremely personal information about their client to someone who is BLOGGING about them.

I'm NOT them...

Despite the fact that The Sliding Door Company violated my privacy repeatedly, I never did, and never will violate the privacy of the person who has breast cancer despite that they may be testifying against me.    
Now that I know who it is, I want to publicly offer my heartfelt support to them.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cold Feet?

When it comes to giving testimony, The Sliding Door Company seems to be getting "cold feet".  I've actually lost track of how many times they have "objected" to giving testimony at a deposition.

Remember this blog post?  They had already cancelled twice back then.  

And now, facing a lawsuit, they have objected to being deposed at least two more times as of this writing.  

The risk of perjury may be part of the problem.  Nobody wants to risk a felony and possible jail time unnecessarily.  Additionally, employers who ask employees to lie in court are committing subornation perjury and are, in essence, committing perjury along with their employees.  

Justice carries a sword for a reason!
This is a sticky situation for The Sliding Door Company, in my opinion.  They have been in the habit of deceiving their customers and others for so long that they fell back on their habitual dishonesty to cover up illegal activities when I pointed them out.  Short of an explanation of why their commercial doors don't need to comply with ADA, and why their engineering documents don't match their products, I think they are pretty much screwed with regard to my case.  

And why not just delay as long as possible?  It is their right, right?  Well, as I mentioned in another blog, that could well be seen as "obstruction of justice".  

And, of course, I'll continue to blog about them... because we're only JUST getting started...  

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

HR Can Put Employees at Risk

I've written about problems with Human Resources departments several times - especially the sometimes unfair relationship between human resources and employees.  As you might expect, The Sliding Door Company's human resources department certainly is not without serious problems.  Clearly, this blog wouldn't be here if I didn't feel my rights were violated.  So, let's have a look at one huge failure that, in this case, directly impacted several people.

When I wrote about TSDC spying on their employees both articles I linked to state plainly 
"the employer needs consent from its workers to monitor their behavior in the workplace." 
That means the employee has to sign something giving consent to be spied on.  Lacking a document showing consent, spying on an employee would be illegal.  

TSDC's terms of spying are laid out in their Employee Handbook.  And sure enough, TSDC's human resources department has a document that employees must sign to acknowledge receipt of the Employee Handbook.  Again, lacking a signed document from an employee stating they have received the notice of the company's policy on spying, the company is NOT allowed to spy on the employee.  From the law:

California's Privacy Act is in the Penal Code. [54] Under section 631, the anti-wiretapping law, anyone who
. . . willfully and without the consent of all parties . . . reads or attempts . . . to learn the contents or meaning of any . . . communication . . . in transit . . . over any wire, line, or cable or is being sent from, or received at any place within this state . . . is punishable by . . . imprisonment . . . [55]Under section 632, the broader anti-eavesdropping/anti-recording law,
Every person who, intentionally and without the consent of all parties . . ., by means of any . . . recording device eavesdrops upon or records [a] confidential communication . . . [including ones] carried on . . . by means of a telegraph, telephone, or other device . . . shall be punished by . . . imprisonment . . . . [56]  

Here's the document that employees are supposed to sign that indicates they have received the Employee Handbook.

Oh dear... it appears in my case the Human Resources Manager neglected to notice I hadn't signed the document.  This means TSDC did NOT have permission to spy on me.  
And yet... they DID.

So, did The Sliding Door Company's human resources manager put other employees in jeopardy by not securing my signature on this document?  

According to California law, it could mean "imprisonment" for someone who unlawfully spies on someone else.  

There is a lot more to the California Privacy Act and associated laws... but the bottom line is...

Human Resources has a very big responsibility when it comes to paperwork and collecting all the signatures required to keep a company and the employees within that company safe.  

When Human Resources fails, companies fail.  But hey... there will always be employees to blame for the shortcomings of employers.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Patent Infringement Lawsuit

The Sliding Door Company's Patent Infringement Lawsuit 

I find this fascinating, personally.  I have already described that there is a flaw in this product - and yet the patent infringement lawsuit was filed against a product that, in my view, may have CORRECTED the flaw.  
Let's see what I'm talking about.  Here are two images from the lawsuit that was filed (linked above):

It's difficult to tell from the quality of the "Defendant's Product" images, but it appears to me the Defendant in this case may have corrected the high-heel-catching design problem that users of TSDC's patented product have experienced and reported.

Remember this image, again from my previous blog post?

Notice in the Patent illustration above, how unnecessarily wide the gap is - in order to accommodate a relatively narrow hook?  The gap is literally big enough to trap a high heel.

That The Sliding Door Company's design can trap a high-heeled shoe becomes more obvious when one considers that the rounded top of the hook works as a funnel to jamb the heel into the track.  
When the heel is pulled out, the sharp edge of the hook traps the heel.  Again, this was reported by TSDC's own employees AND customers.

Now, let's look at Defendant's track.  Does it look like a high-heel can get jammed in there?  It's hard to know for sure, but the gap in the defendant's product doesn't look nearly as wide to me.  Indeed, it appears that a high heel would be prevented from falling into the gap by the rounded knob that the roller will ride on.  It's a very different design... other than the hooking element.  And seriously, the "hooking" element is nothing new.  Anybody who has been around a roller coaster knows this is how roller-coaster wheels are made to stay on the track... they ALL hook underneath.

I'm guessing The Sliding Door Company won this case.  I took a peek at the Defendant's website to see if they have abandoned their bottom track design, and it appears they have.  Oddly, the company has a subsidiary called Chaparral which is a name I remember from my very first week working at The Sliding Door Company.  I essentially found their EXACT same extrusion being used by another company and selling their product at Lowes.  I wondered at the time who this Chaparral company was and why our product was being sold by them.  Now, after seeing TSDC in action, I'm not so sure who ripped who off.

Remember this blog post?  To save 15 cents per bracket, TSDC decided to forego engineering and product testing and simply copy an engineered and tested bracket by Simpson Strong-Tie.  Building inspectors accustomed to seeing the Simpson tie can easily mistake TSDC's bracket for an engineered and tested product by Simpson.

Untested knock-off STRUCTURAL tie by TSDC

Engineered and tested STRUCTURAL tie by Simpson

Patent Infringement?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Email Scandal!

The Sliding Door Company has its very own email scandal.  Leaked emails show former President of TSDC's commercial division not only avoided complying with ADA regulations, but blamed her CUSTOMER for it.  It turns out they didn't want to scrap pre-cut door jambs, so they preferred to violate ADA - for quite some time apparently.  

Here's the email chain.  I have redacted the names of the employees who need not be involved in this for their own personal privacy (and because I'm not Wikileaks).

It started out with a drawing request:

Sent: Friday, April 10, 2015 10:36 AM
To: 'Sheryl Hai-Ami'Subject: Drawing Request - Regus 0564

Hi Sheryl,
Attached is a drawing request for Regus 0564 (Indianapolis).Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,
Senior Estimator

Sheryl passes it up the line to my co-worker instead of me (she knew I wouldn't permit a non-ADA-compliant product to be sold in the US). 

From: Sheryl Hai-Ami [mailto:Sheryl@slidingdoorco.com]
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2015 10:52 AM
To: 'A_REDACTED; drawings@slidingdoorco.com <This email was to my department and allowed me to see this email chain even though I wasn't directly copied on it.
Cc: P_REDACTEDSubject:
FW: Drawing Request - Regus 0564
Importance: High


Please see drawing request for Regus.Please let me know if you have any questions.Thank you.
President, Space Plus div of TSDC

By now, of course, I was out of the loop (for being a whistleblower) but still wanted to keep them from violating ADA.  I notified my former team who were now filling the drawing requests (engineering) and let them know they were violating ADA - in case they didn't already know.
From: Pete Karaiskos [mailto:petek@slidingdoorco.com]
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 7:39 AM
Subject: RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564

Pssst.. 32" is below ADA
Pete Karaiskos
R&D Manager

Seasoned employees know better than to rock the boat.  You could lose your job, like I did.  Employees learned a lesson when I was retaliated against.
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 9:56 AMTo: 'Pete Karaiskos'Subject: RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564

I don't give a shit.

Technical Integration Manager

From: Pete Karaiskos [mailto:petek@slidingdoorco.com]
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 9:58 AMTo: 'A_REDACTEDSubject: RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564

Great! Leave it to me to give a shit! &^&*$#%^#

Pete Karaiskos
R&D Manager

Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 10:30 AM
To: 'Pete Karaiskos'Subject: RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564

Lol. I mean, this is how Regus always does it, so I don't care. If that's what Sheryl's team wants, I am not going to argue.

Technical Integration Manager

From: Pete Karaiskos [mailto:petek@slidingdoorco.com]
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 10:30 AMTo: 'A_REDACTEDSubject: RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564

Ah. You learned my lesson. ;)

Pete Karaiskos
R&D Manager 

Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 10:36 AMTo: 'Pete Karaiskos'Subject: RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564

I already argued that one with them before that that's How they want it.

Technical Integration Manager

I tried to explain the severity of what they are doing:

From: Pete Karaiskos [mailto:petek@slidingdoorco.com]
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 10:40 AMTo: 'A_REDACTEDSubject: RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564
Do they get that it is NOT their call? They can't make their own ADA guidelines - or alter existing ADA requirements for aesthetics. All it takes is one disabled person to notice and turn Regus in, and they will have to replace everything that was put in since the requirement changed. Older stuff is grandfathered in - but there is absolutely no excuse to put a handle in a commercial building that is out of ADA range. <shaking head> I guess everybody needs to learn the hard way these days. 
Pete Karaiskos
R&D Manager 

Coming from a "sales" standpoint is sometimes at odds with safety and regulations.  In this case, people at TSDC have convinced themselves that "the customer is always right".
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 11:02 AMTo: 'Pete Karaiskos'Subject: RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564

But Regus is the client. Plus these are private offices, so they don't need to be ADA compliant. Right?

Technical Integration Manager

From: Pete Karaiskos [mailto:petek@slidingdoorco.com]
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 11:05 AMTo: 'A_REDACTEDSubject: RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564
Wait. are you suggesting "private" offices in a commercial building are"residential"?
NOOOOOooooo. they absolutely have to be ADA compliant. Is Regus planning to discriminate against employees with disabilities? It isn't like a hotel where they can have one ADA room per floor. This is a commercial office space. no way do they get to do that.
Pete Karaiskos
R&D Manager 

Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 11:22 AMTo: 'Pete Karaiskos'Subject: RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564

Huh. News to me. I will have N_REDACTED add a note to the drawing that they are not compliant at that height. But anyway the Slider Hook Latch is not an ADA compliant feature, so what difference does that make?

Technical Integration Manager
From: Pete Karaiskos [mailto:petek@slidingdoorco.com]
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 11:25 AM
Subject: RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564

Just because a feature isn't ADA compliant (a pull for example) - doesn't mean we get to put it out of ADA range. Our pulls aren't ADA compliant - but because someone is in a wheelchair doesn't mean they have no hands or fingers. they could certainly use a pull if it was at the correct height.
We can't make assumptions like this.

Pete Karaiskos
R&D Manager

Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 11:42 AM
To: 'Pete Karaiskos'Subject:
RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564
I understand, finally.
Technical Integration Manager

Meanwhile, the CAD designer sent me the details of the installation to confirm whether it was indeed in violation of ADA.

Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 9:17 AM
To: 'Pete Karaiskos'Subject:
RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564

Hi Pete,
There was a sliding hook latch at 32" and an ADA 9" handle at 40.5" on this one.
Is that ok for ADA?

CAD Designer

I tried to give a solution... moving the hardware to within ADA range.  Simple, right?
From: Pete Karaiskos [mailto:petek@slidingdoorco.com]
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 9:19 AM
Subject: RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564

Can the sliding hook latch come up to 34"? That would put it within ADA requirements.

Pete Karaiskos
R&D Manager

Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 11:42 AM
To: 'Pete Karaiskos'
Subject: RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564
Hi Pete,
Just letting you know for future, I checked with A_REDACTED, she said REGUS is special and we even stock special extrusions with cutouts at 32" for the accessories they use just for them. She says that is how Regus always has their heights. So we are leaving it at 32" - perhaps they are not getting inspected.

CAD Designer

But, by this time, A_REDACTED had understood the ADA requirement.  I let N_REDACTED know.
From: Pete Karaiskos [mailto:petek@slidingdoorco.com] 
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 11:46 AM
RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564
A_REDACTED (and Regus) is wrong in this case.  We've been discussing it and I think she finally understood why in my last email.
Having said this. I'm happy to let Regus learn their lesson the hard way. ;)
Pete Karaiskos
R&D Manager
This prompted N_REDACTED to email Sheryl to ask if it would be OK to comply with ADA.

From: Drawings [mailto:drawings@slidingdoorco.com]
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 9:26 AM
To: 'Sheryl Hai-Ami'Subject:
RE: Drawing Request - Regus 0564

Hi Sheryl,

Pete was taking a look at this project and raised a good question. The sliding hook latch was requested to be at 32"which is currently not within the ADA range - but if we moved it up to 34" it would be in the range. Do you think this might be a possibility?

Sincere thanks,

CAD Designer 

Sheryl's very predictable response (remember, this was the PRESIDENT of their commercial division making up rules for ADA):
From: Sheryl Hai-Ami [mailto:Sheryl@slidingdoorco.com]
Sent: Friday, April 13, 2015 1:08 PM
To: drawings@slidingdoorco.com
Not in this case.
The Regus program nationwide is very specific and they have asked for it to be centered at 32" from the bottom of our bottom frame from day 1.
They are taking ownership for anything related to ADA.

Thank you very much for asking.
President, Space Plus div of TSDC

And there you have it.  The Sliding Door Company's former commercial division President (now an administrator but still wife of their CEO) was directing employees to violate ADA in commercial products and placing the blame on their own customer.