Monday, March 28, 2016

Bad Engineering - Worth Sharing

Here's a story about a stationary panel installation.  At The Sliding Door Company, it's cause for an announcement when a system actually goes together without customer complaints.  Many of us have worked in office environments.  Has anyone ever seen a stationary panel installation like the one pictured below?
This type of goofy engineering was praised by Sheryl Hai-Ami, president of the commercial division of The Sliding Door Company - SpacePlus.  Does the notion that the president of the company has no clue about safe engineering trouble anyone?  
The emails indicate that this installation was reviewed and REJECTED before it was installed.  

"Hi All, One of Kari's clients in Las Vegas
 sent pictures of her unique work area.
The white frames look great."

"Hi Rachelle and Sheryl,

"Beautiful, but these photos concerned me, so I ran them by Pete.  This is actually an example of what not to do.  Basically the rule is you can't have any loose corners like the one created just over the walk-through areas and the one by the stationary panel.  Anywhere the 4x4's extend toward the ceiling.  A beam all the way across at both vertical locations would solve that.  The rule with a fixed panel is that an extended floor flange should not be used on a height above 65".
"I'm sure it feels sturdy now, but after a few years, it will be quite loose."

"I thought this looked familiar, so I looked back and Kari actually asked me about this one.  I told her she could not do it without floor to ceiling columns or additional support.  What she did is not sufficient as it does not provide the support needed.

"Our saving grace, is that we did not do the install.  Please share with your teams and I will mention it to Jonathan so they don't use the photos for any examples."

"Thank you for the information!                     "My understanding was that this includes stationary panels on a single track in the back and client advised that they would not put beams straight across to side walls at 80" high. I am so glad you initiated a dialog because we need to let all managers know."

Notice the loose corners in the picture.  These will come loose eventually - and the cross beam can fall down on someone.  This is why sales people aren't supposed to be making engineering decisions.  At The Sliding Door Company, it's "Sales first, safety LAST!"

Friday, March 25, 2016

CSI- Fraud Unit

CSI?  What's that?  Well, it's on the SpacePlus website:  CSI SPEC GUIDE

So what is CSI? It's the Construction Specifications Institute
CSI was founded in March 1948 by the specification writers of government agencies who came together to improve the quality of construction specifications. The Institute’s efforts were essential in improving construction specification quality so that it could meet the demands of the post-war construction boom. 
 OK, so these people produce specifications so that their members can improve the quality of construction in their products.  And it's a GOOD thing that the Sliding Door Company belongs to this organization.  They display their CSI Spec Guides for Sliding doors and Swing doors right on their website.  These guides describe what The Sliding Door Company is specifying for their products... Except that... they DON'T!

Let's have a look at the Sliding Doors Guide first.  Section 1.7 WARRANTY: 

"Manufacturer's warranty agreeing to repair or replace components used in interior installations, excluding glass, that fail in materials or workmanship within three years from date of substantial completion."
Hold on... why does this suggest they give a three year warranty?  The Sliding Door Company does NOT offer a three year warranty.  Why is this statement on their website?  This is repeated in the Swing Doors Guide as well.  So if they don't offer a three year warranty, why are they suggesting there is a three year warranty on their products?

OK, what else is in the CSI investigation.  Let's take a look at Section 2.2 - COMPONENTS.  We already know TSDC uses a "Proprietary Formula for Aluminum" but what are they saying on the CSI documents?
Material: Aluminum extrusions, 6061 alloy.
OK, so this specifies a specific aluminum alloy - 6061.  Hold on again... We already saw their engineering documents called out 6063.  Which is it?  And what's the difference


ConditionTensile Strength (PSI)Yield Strength (PSI)Shear Strength (PSI)Elongation in 2"Brinell Hardness
6061 Structural45,00040,00030,0001795
6063 Structural27,00021,00017,0001260

So, the 6061 Aluminum which the CSI believes The Sliding Door Company is using is almost TWICE as strong as the material they told their engineer they are using.  Hold on... If their engineering calculations were based on the weaker material (and they are) that would be a good thing, right?  Yes... but... Unfortunately, the ACTUAL material they use is the "proprietary formula aluminum" for which there is no engineering data available.

I think what we are seeing here is that The Sliding Door Company has no idea about what materials are going into their products nor do they understand the engineering and product testing that is necessary in order to produce a safe product.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Illegally Fired from your Job?

1. Implied Promises

When you accept a job offer for a certain amount of pay in exchange for your work, you enter a contract with your employer – whether it’s written or unwritten.  
Employers also make the rules at your company, but they can get into trouble when they don’t follow the policies they’ve created.  
If your employer doesn’t follow that process correctly, with the proper documentation, it could also be grounds for a lawsuit.

2. You were Discriminated Against

Employers cannot fire an employee because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, age (if over 40), disability, or national origin. 

3. There was a Breech of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

If you believe you were fired so your employer wouldn’t have to pay you a sales commission, for example, that would be a breach of good faith and fair dealing.
The same applies if you were misled about promotion or wage increases, or if your employer made up a reason to fire you, when the true reason was to be able to hire someone who would earn a smaller paycheck.

4. Your Employer Violated Public Policy

According to certain laws, you cannot be fired for taking time off for jury duty, to vote, or to serve in the military or National Guard. 
In addition, you cannot be fired for refusing to commit an illegal act at your employer’s request. You also can’t be fired for whistle-blowing. Whistle-blowing laws are complex, but essentially you cannot be fired if you report illegal actions your company has committed. It doesn’t stop employers from firing you anyway, however; the Department of Energy is under investigation for whistle-blowing retaliation cases last year.

5. Your Employer Retaliated Against You

Similar to whistle-blowing, if you do something that is legally protected in the workplace, your employer cannot retaliate against you by showing you the door.
If you formally complain about a health or safety concern in the workplace, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act protects you from being fired for doing so.
You also cannot lose your job if you file a harassment complaint, or if you file a concern with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.
You must prove that your complaint triggered your boss to act (i.e. giving you a reprimand) and that you subsequently suffered adverse consequences (you were fired).

6. Your Employer Committed Fraud

“The hardest part of proving fraud is showing that the employer acted badly on purpose, in an intentional effort to trick you. That requires good documentation of how, when, to whom, and by what means the false representations were made,” Nolo explains.
However, if you can prove that a superior knew about false information that was given to you in order to trick you, and that you acted upon that information and were later fired for it, you can claim fraud in your termination suit.

7. You were Defamed

Defamation occurs when your reputation or good standing in the community is jeopardized by someone who intentionally spreads false facts about you.
If your employer defames you during the firing process, you can claim a wrongful termination and a potentially win a defamation suit, since those false facts could in turn make it difficult for you to find another job.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Sliding Door Company - A Sorry Excuse

Well, dear readers, we were supposed to have a hearing with the DLSE this week.  For the SECOND time, there was a last-minute cancellation from The Sliding Door Company.  Naturally, I'm suspicious that this is a ploy.  Since I'm the one without a job, they can certainly afford to delay our hearing - continuing my suffering at their hands.  

They had an excellent excuse, however - somebody on their witness list, apparently, had to have "emergency" breast cancer surgery.  Apparently, something happened with the cancer process that required a last-minute cancellation of the hearing.  It obviously wasn't a scheduled surgery, or we would have had plenty of notice, right?  

With some notice, we could have moved the hearing forward instead of delaying it another month or more.  As it turns out, the last-minute nature of this surgery inadvertently caused me additional hardship.

My mother had breast cancer, so it isn't something I joke about.  I'm very sorry if somebody had to have breast cancer surgery.  And for this reason, it would make me especially upset to find out that this woman's surgery was used by TSDC to manipulate the hearing date.  If it was, then we certainly have another ethical and perhaps legal problem.

...a person who "corruptly or by threats of force, or by threatening letter or 
communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to 
influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice" is 
guilty of the crime of obstruction of justice. ...  Federal courts have read this 
clause expansively to proscribe any conduct that interferes with the 
judicial process.

So, I will be asking for evidence of the "emergency" surgery having taken place on the date of the hearing.  If TSDC cannot produce this, then I think an obstruction of justice charge must be filed.  Additionally, if their attorney knew about this and delayed informing the DLSE until it was too late to move the hearing forward, then I would suggest the California State Bar must be contacted as well.  Obstruction of Justice goes for attorneys too.

Anyway, they have delayed the hearing twice now - so the DLSE investigator said she will ask them to submit their evidence at this point.  I get to rebut it.

Meanwhile, TSDC has provided me with ample justification for this blog as a way to put the required pressure on them to obey the law and to work toward a timely solution to my wrongful termination and retaliation charges.  If this blog wasn't here, they would have no reason to not delay this case forever.  So, obviously, the more pressure I put on them to AT LEAST obey they law, the better.