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The Olympics Cracks Down on Illegal Food Trucks

The Olympics Cracks Down on Illegal Food Trucks

Illegal vans selling food during the Olympics will be impounded, authorities say

The Food Standards Agency is cracking down on illegal food vans during the 2012 London Olympic Games, and has rented three locations to impound trucks peddling illegal food during the games, the Telegraph reports.

The agency will be on the prowl for "any type of non-fixed businesses, such as ice-cream vans and hot dog stalls," says the report. The extra caution in food safety is to prevent the 1 million expected visitors from contracting food bugs or stomach upsets. The FSA has also trained restaurants and police officers in food safety hygiene, and is preparing for "emergency applications" should officers need to act against fast-food businesses. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, nearly 99 percent of the food tested during the game was deemed safe; the city had similar standards for food safety then.

Don't fret if you still want a hot dog during the games, though — London organizers LOCOG have already signed up 12 different catering companies to feed hungry spectators during the games. The organizers are hailing it as part of the "food vision" plan for the games, the "largest peace-tome catering operation in the world."


Employee Finds Hidden Camera in Bathroom

Video surveillance has become commonplace in many American workplaces, but now this type of electronic snooping has reached a new frontier: the employee bathroom.

That little-known fact was discovered this week by chagrined workers at the Consolidated Freightways truck terminal in the Riverside County community of Mira Loma. Many of the terminal’s 600 employees are furious after learning that their restroom visits may have been captured on video.

“We shouldn’t have those kinds of Gestapo tactics here,” said Robert Westreicher, a Consolidated dockworker with 15 years on the job.

Although employee-restroom snooping still is far from the norm among employers, privacy experts said the Mira Loma incident underscores that it no longer is uncommon and may be spreading. They say it most often takes place at companies where managers want to crack down on workers believed to be using restrooms as hide-outs to deal in drugs or stolen merchandise.

Consolidated officials said their secret cameras were installed in two men’s bathrooms several months ago at the Mira Loma facility to track down the suspected use and sale of illegal drugs by employees. The company said that over the last year and a half, it has dismissed eight to 10 workers at the Teamsters union-represented terminal on drug- or alcohol-related grounds.

Michael Brown, a Consolidated spokesman, emphasized that the video cameras were aimed toward the entrances, in front of the sinks and, in one case, at an open area in the corner where drugs supposedly were sold. The cameras were focused “nowhere near the urinal area or the [toilet] stall area,” he said.

The discovery of the lavatory surveillance was made shortly before midnight Tuesday by an employee who noticed that one of the wall mirrors over the sinks was askew. When he checked further, apparently to readjust the mirror, he came across the hidden camera.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which was called in to investigate, soon found hidden cameras at a second bathroom. Brown said seven more bathrooms were checked, but no other surveillance equipment was found.

Details remained sketchy Thursday, but Brown and a spokesman for the sheriff’s department said two or three cameras were seized from the two bathrooms, along with several videotapes. The case remained under investigation.

The sheriff’s department spokesman, Mark Lohman, said deputies are looking into whether the company violated state law barring surveillance where people have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy. Although neither state nor federal law specifically bars video surveillance in employee bathrooms, judges normally decide such cases by balancing workers’ expectations against the need for the company to maintain a safe, productive workplace.

Other key factors, legal experts said, involve whether the employer tries to limit the intrusiveness of the surveillance and the length of time over which it is used, rather than simply letting the cameras roll indefinitely.

Brown said his Menlo Park-based company, one of the nation’s largest trucking concerns, is concerned about employee privacy. But, he said, the managers of the terminal, the biggest such Consolidated facility in the nation, acted because of the safety threats posed by possible drug use among truck drivers and other terminal workers.

“Our first priority is to protect our employees and to protect our customers’ freight,” he said. Particularly in the safety-sensitive transportation business, Brown added, “you have to protect against employees being impaired.”

“There was more than a reasonable belief,” he said, “that drug activity had taken place, was taking place and would take place.” He said, however, that he didn’t know if the company had ever filed complaints with police about the problem.

Over the last two days, many employees have been fuming. A spokesman for Local 63 of the Teamsters union, which represents most of the terminal’s workers, said it is reviewing its legal options.

Westreicher, 43, said the terminal’s management should be fired. “I get along with management rather well, unlike some others here, but to find out that they had cameras in the bathroom . . . it’s appalling,” he said.

He said use of the hidden bathroom cameras “was just too under the belt, too sneaky, as far as I’m concerned. If they’re trying to clean up the drug problem, that’s commendable. But to do it this way is ridiculous.”

Pat Knutzen, a fellow dockworker and a Teamsters shop steward, added that “the majority of people are very upset about it, to the point of wanting to contact the CEO and president.”

“They want heads to roll over it, Knutzen added. “They feel that the company has crossed some lines that they shouldn’t have crossed.”

In one expression of employee anger, workers passed around a flier with a picture of a man standing in front of a urinal. Printed on it was a company slogan: “Watch us deliver now.”

Such cases have made their way into courtrooms elsewhere. Three years ago, a West Virginia judge ordered a utility company, Monongahela Power Co., to pull surveillance cameras from a locker room. Three employees were awarded $80,000 in damages for invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

While the utility claimed it was trying to combat drug trafficking, workers claimed the camera was intended to spy on union activity.

In a case pending in state court in Massachusetts, five current or former workers at a Sheraton hotel are suing the company for secretly videotaping them and other workers in the male employees’ locker room over a seven-week period in 1991. The workers say they were humiliated after discovering that some of them were captured on videotape. The company has argued in court that the videotaping was intended to investigate drug dealing, and that one “apparent drug transaction” was spotted.

The latest major survey on electronic surveillance in the workplace, a poll of 906 large- and medium-sized U.S. employers released in May, found that 35.3% at least occasionally conduct one or more kinds of electronic snooping on their workers. Those activities included listening to employees’ phone calls or voicemail messages and reading electronic mail or computer files, along with videotaping workers’ activities.

What’s more, the survey found that even though companies often can fend off invasion-of-privacy lawsuits by alerting employees in advance, nearly one out of six of the snooping employers said they don’t warn their workers.

If all kinds of monitoring are taken into account--including, for example, video surveillance at convenience stores and banks to combat theft--the share of employers engaging in such activity rises to 63.4%. The survey was conducted by the nonprofit American Management Assn. and the newsletter Employment Testing: Law and Policy Reporter.


Employee Finds Hidden Camera in Bathroom

Video surveillance has become commonplace in many American workplaces, but now this type of electronic snooping has reached a new frontier: the employee bathroom.

That little-known fact was discovered this week by chagrined workers at the Consolidated Freightways truck terminal in the Riverside County community of Mira Loma. Many of the terminal’s 600 employees are furious after learning that their restroom visits may have been captured on video.

“We shouldn’t have those kinds of Gestapo tactics here,” said Robert Westreicher, a Consolidated dockworker with 15 years on the job.

Although employee-restroom snooping still is far from the norm among employers, privacy experts said the Mira Loma incident underscores that it no longer is uncommon and may be spreading. They say it most often takes place at companies where managers want to crack down on workers believed to be using restrooms as hide-outs to deal in drugs or stolen merchandise.

Consolidated officials said their secret cameras were installed in two men’s bathrooms several months ago at the Mira Loma facility to track down the suspected use and sale of illegal drugs by employees. The company said that over the last year and a half, it has dismissed eight to 10 workers at the Teamsters union-represented terminal on drug- or alcohol-related grounds.

Michael Brown, a Consolidated spokesman, emphasized that the video cameras were aimed toward the entrances, in front of the sinks and, in one case, at an open area in the corner where drugs supposedly were sold. The cameras were focused “nowhere near the urinal area or the [toilet] stall area,” he said.

The discovery of the lavatory surveillance was made shortly before midnight Tuesday by an employee who noticed that one of the wall mirrors over the sinks was askew. When he checked further, apparently to readjust the mirror, he came across the hidden camera.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which was called in to investigate, soon found hidden cameras at a second bathroom. Brown said seven more bathrooms were checked, but no other surveillance equipment was found.

Details remained sketchy Thursday, but Brown and a spokesman for the sheriff’s department said two or three cameras were seized from the two bathrooms, along with several videotapes. The case remained under investigation.

The sheriff’s department spokesman, Mark Lohman, said deputies are looking into whether the company violated state law barring surveillance where people have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy. Although neither state nor federal law specifically bars video surveillance in employee bathrooms, judges normally decide such cases by balancing workers’ expectations against the need for the company to maintain a safe, productive workplace.

Other key factors, legal experts said, involve whether the employer tries to limit the intrusiveness of the surveillance and the length of time over which it is used, rather than simply letting the cameras roll indefinitely.

Brown said his Menlo Park-based company, one of the nation’s largest trucking concerns, is concerned about employee privacy. But, he said, the managers of the terminal, the biggest such Consolidated facility in the nation, acted because of the safety threats posed by possible drug use among truck drivers and other terminal workers.

“Our first priority is to protect our employees and to protect our customers’ freight,” he said. Particularly in the safety-sensitive transportation business, Brown added, “you have to protect against employees being impaired.”

“There was more than a reasonable belief,” he said, “that drug activity had taken place, was taking place and would take place.” He said, however, that he didn’t know if the company had ever filed complaints with police about the problem.

Over the last two days, many employees have been fuming. A spokesman for Local 63 of the Teamsters union, which represents most of the terminal’s workers, said it is reviewing its legal options.

Westreicher, 43, said the terminal’s management should be fired. “I get along with management rather well, unlike some others here, but to find out that they had cameras in the bathroom . . . it’s appalling,” he said.

He said use of the hidden bathroom cameras “was just too under the belt, too sneaky, as far as I’m concerned. If they’re trying to clean up the drug problem, that’s commendable. But to do it this way is ridiculous.”

Pat Knutzen, a fellow dockworker and a Teamsters shop steward, added that “the majority of people are very upset about it, to the point of wanting to contact the CEO and president.”

“They want heads to roll over it, Knutzen added. “They feel that the company has crossed some lines that they shouldn’t have crossed.”

In one expression of employee anger, workers passed around a flier with a picture of a man standing in front of a urinal. Printed on it was a company slogan: “Watch us deliver now.”

Such cases have made their way into courtrooms elsewhere. Three years ago, a West Virginia judge ordered a utility company, Monongahela Power Co., to pull surveillance cameras from a locker room. Three employees were awarded $80,000 in damages for invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

While the utility claimed it was trying to combat drug trafficking, workers claimed the camera was intended to spy on union activity.

In a case pending in state court in Massachusetts, five current or former workers at a Sheraton hotel are suing the company for secretly videotaping them and other workers in the male employees’ locker room over a seven-week period in 1991. The workers say they were humiliated after discovering that some of them were captured on videotape. The company has argued in court that the videotaping was intended to investigate drug dealing, and that one “apparent drug transaction” was spotted.

The latest major survey on electronic surveillance in the workplace, a poll of 906 large- and medium-sized U.S. employers released in May, found that 35.3% at least occasionally conduct one or more kinds of electronic snooping on their workers. Those activities included listening to employees’ phone calls or voicemail messages and reading electronic mail or computer files, along with videotaping workers’ activities.

What’s more, the survey found that even though companies often can fend off invasion-of-privacy lawsuits by alerting employees in advance, nearly one out of six of the snooping employers said they don’t warn their workers.

If all kinds of monitoring are taken into account--including, for example, video surveillance at convenience stores and banks to combat theft--the share of employers engaging in such activity rises to 63.4%. The survey was conducted by the nonprofit American Management Assn. and the newsletter Employment Testing: Law and Policy Reporter.


Employee Finds Hidden Camera in Bathroom

Video surveillance has become commonplace in many American workplaces, but now this type of electronic snooping has reached a new frontier: the employee bathroom.

That little-known fact was discovered this week by chagrined workers at the Consolidated Freightways truck terminal in the Riverside County community of Mira Loma. Many of the terminal’s 600 employees are furious after learning that their restroom visits may have been captured on video.

“We shouldn’t have those kinds of Gestapo tactics here,” said Robert Westreicher, a Consolidated dockworker with 15 years on the job.

Although employee-restroom snooping still is far from the norm among employers, privacy experts said the Mira Loma incident underscores that it no longer is uncommon and may be spreading. They say it most often takes place at companies where managers want to crack down on workers believed to be using restrooms as hide-outs to deal in drugs or stolen merchandise.

Consolidated officials said their secret cameras were installed in two men’s bathrooms several months ago at the Mira Loma facility to track down the suspected use and sale of illegal drugs by employees. The company said that over the last year and a half, it has dismissed eight to 10 workers at the Teamsters union-represented terminal on drug- or alcohol-related grounds.

Michael Brown, a Consolidated spokesman, emphasized that the video cameras were aimed toward the entrances, in front of the sinks and, in one case, at an open area in the corner where drugs supposedly were sold. The cameras were focused “nowhere near the urinal area or the [toilet] stall area,” he said.

The discovery of the lavatory surveillance was made shortly before midnight Tuesday by an employee who noticed that one of the wall mirrors over the sinks was askew. When he checked further, apparently to readjust the mirror, he came across the hidden camera.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which was called in to investigate, soon found hidden cameras at a second bathroom. Brown said seven more bathrooms were checked, but no other surveillance equipment was found.

Details remained sketchy Thursday, but Brown and a spokesman for the sheriff’s department said two or three cameras were seized from the two bathrooms, along with several videotapes. The case remained under investigation.

The sheriff’s department spokesman, Mark Lohman, said deputies are looking into whether the company violated state law barring surveillance where people have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy. Although neither state nor federal law specifically bars video surveillance in employee bathrooms, judges normally decide such cases by balancing workers’ expectations against the need for the company to maintain a safe, productive workplace.

Other key factors, legal experts said, involve whether the employer tries to limit the intrusiveness of the surveillance and the length of time over which it is used, rather than simply letting the cameras roll indefinitely.

Brown said his Menlo Park-based company, one of the nation’s largest trucking concerns, is concerned about employee privacy. But, he said, the managers of the terminal, the biggest such Consolidated facility in the nation, acted because of the safety threats posed by possible drug use among truck drivers and other terminal workers.

“Our first priority is to protect our employees and to protect our customers’ freight,” he said. Particularly in the safety-sensitive transportation business, Brown added, “you have to protect against employees being impaired.”

“There was more than a reasonable belief,” he said, “that drug activity had taken place, was taking place and would take place.” He said, however, that he didn’t know if the company had ever filed complaints with police about the problem.

Over the last two days, many employees have been fuming. A spokesman for Local 63 of the Teamsters union, which represents most of the terminal’s workers, said it is reviewing its legal options.

Westreicher, 43, said the terminal’s management should be fired. “I get along with management rather well, unlike some others here, but to find out that they had cameras in the bathroom . . . it’s appalling,” he said.

He said use of the hidden bathroom cameras “was just too under the belt, too sneaky, as far as I’m concerned. If they’re trying to clean up the drug problem, that’s commendable. But to do it this way is ridiculous.”

Pat Knutzen, a fellow dockworker and a Teamsters shop steward, added that “the majority of people are very upset about it, to the point of wanting to contact the CEO and president.”

“They want heads to roll over it, Knutzen added. “They feel that the company has crossed some lines that they shouldn’t have crossed.”

In one expression of employee anger, workers passed around a flier with a picture of a man standing in front of a urinal. Printed on it was a company slogan: “Watch us deliver now.”

Such cases have made their way into courtrooms elsewhere. Three years ago, a West Virginia judge ordered a utility company, Monongahela Power Co., to pull surveillance cameras from a locker room. Three employees were awarded $80,000 in damages for invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

While the utility claimed it was trying to combat drug trafficking, workers claimed the camera was intended to spy on union activity.

In a case pending in state court in Massachusetts, five current or former workers at a Sheraton hotel are suing the company for secretly videotaping them and other workers in the male employees’ locker room over a seven-week period in 1991. The workers say they were humiliated after discovering that some of them were captured on videotape. The company has argued in court that the videotaping was intended to investigate drug dealing, and that one “apparent drug transaction” was spotted.

The latest major survey on electronic surveillance in the workplace, a poll of 906 large- and medium-sized U.S. employers released in May, found that 35.3% at least occasionally conduct one or more kinds of electronic snooping on their workers. Those activities included listening to employees’ phone calls or voicemail messages and reading electronic mail or computer files, along with videotaping workers’ activities.

What’s more, the survey found that even though companies often can fend off invasion-of-privacy lawsuits by alerting employees in advance, nearly one out of six of the snooping employers said they don’t warn their workers.

If all kinds of monitoring are taken into account--including, for example, video surveillance at convenience stores and banks to combat theft--the share of employers engaging in such activity rises to 63.4%. The survey was conducted by the nonprofit American Management Assn. and the newsletter Employment Testing: Law and Policy Reporter.


Employee Finds Hidden Camera in Bathroom

Video surveillance has become commonplace in many American workplaces, but now this type of electronic snooping has reached a new frontier: the employee bathroom.

That little-known fact was discovered this week by chagrined workers at the Consolidated Freightways truck terminal in the Riverside County community of Mira Loma. Many of the terminal’s 600 employees are furious after learning that their restroom visits may have been captured on video.

“We shouldn’t have those kinds of Gestapo tactics here,” said Robert Westreicher, a Consolidated dockworker with 15 years on the job.

Although employee-restroom snooping still is far from the norm among employers, privacy experts said the Mira Loma incident underscores that it no longer is uncommon and may be spreading. They say it most often takes place at companies where managers want to crack down on workers believed to be using restrooms as hide-outs to deal in drugs or stolen merchandise.

Consolidated officials said their secret cameras were installed in two men’s bathrooms several months ago at the Mira Loma facility to track down the suspected use and sale of illegal drugs by employees. The company said that over the last year and a half, it has dismissed eight to 10 workers at the Teamsters union-represented terminal on drug- or alcohol-related grounds.

Michael Brown, a Consolidated spokesman, emphasized that the video cameras were aimed toward the entrances, in front of the sinks and, in one case, at an open area in the corner where drugs supposedly were sold. The cameras were focused “nowhere near the urinal area or the [toilet] stall area,” he said.

The discovery of the lavatory surveillance was made shortly before midnight Tuesday by an employee who noticed that one of the wall mirrors over the sinks was askew. When he checked further, apparently to readjust the mirror, he came across the hidden camera.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which was called in to investigate, soon found hidden cameras at a second bathroom. Brown said seven more bathrooms were checked, but no other surveillance equipment was found.

Details remained sketchy Thursday, but Brown and a spokesman for the sheriff’s department said two or three cameras were seized from the two bathrooms, along with several videotapes. The case remained under investigation.

The sheriff’s department spokesman, Mark Lohman, said deputies are looking into whether the company violated state law barring surveillance where people have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy. Although neither state nor federal law specifically bars video surveillance in employee bathrooms, judges normally decide such cases by balancing workers’ expectations against the need for the company to maintain a safe, productive workplace.

Other key factors, legal experts said, involve whether the employer tries to limit the intrusiveness of the surveillance and the length of time over which it is used, rather than simply letting the cameras roll indefinitely.

Brown said his Menlo Park-based company, one of the nation’s largest trucking concerns, is concerned about employee privacy. But, he said, the managers of the terminal, the biggest such Consolidated facility in the nation, acted because of the safety threats posed by possible drug use among truck drivers and other terminal workers.

“Our first priority is to protect our employees and to protect our customers’ freight,” he said. Particularly in the safety-sensitive transportation business, Brown added, “you have to protect against employees being impaired.”

“There was more than a reasonable belief,” he said, “that drug activity had taken place, was taking place and would take place.” He said, however, that he didn’t know if the company had ever filed complaints with police about the problem.

Over the last two days, many employees have been fuming. A spokesman for Local 63 of the Teamsters union, which represents most of the terminal’s workers, said it is reviewing its legal options.

Westreicher, 43, said the terminal’s management should be fired. “I get along with management rather well, unlike some others here, but to find out that they had cameras in the bathroom . . . it’s appalling,” he said.

He said use of the hidden bathroom cameras “was just too under the belt, too sneaky, as far as I’m concerned. If they’re trying to clean up the drug problem, that’s commendable. But to do it this way is ridiculous.”

Pat Knutzen, a fellow dockworker and a Teamsters shop steward, added that “the majority of people are very upset about it, to the point of wanting to contact the CEO and president.”

“They want heads to roll over it, Knutzen added. “They feel that the company has crossed some lines that they shouldn’t have crossed.”

In one expression of employee anger, workers passed around a flier with a picture of a man standing in front of a urinal. Printed on it was a company slogan: “Watch us deliver now.”

Such cases have made their way into courtrooms elsewhere. Three years ago, a West Virginia judge ordered a utility company, Monongahela Power Co., to pull surveillance cameras from a locker room. Three employees were awarded $80,000 in damages for invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

While the utility claimed it was trying to combat drug trafficking, workers claimed the camera was intended to spy on union activity.

In a case pending in state court in Massachusetts, five current or former workers at a Sheraton hotel are suing the company for secretly videotaping them and other workers in the male employees’ locker room over a seven-week period in 1991. The workers say they were humiliated after discovering that some of them were captured on videotape. The company has argued in court that the videotaping was intended to investigate drug dealing, and that one “apparent drug transaction” was spotted.

The latest major survey on electronic surveillance in the workplace, a poll of 906 large- and medium-sized U.S. employers released in May, found that 35.3% at least occasionally conduct one or more kinds of electronic snooping on their workers. Those activities included listening to employees’ phone calls or voicemail messages and reading electronic mail or computer files, along with videotaping workers’ activities.

What’s more, the survey found that even though companies often can fend off invasion-of-privacy lawsuits by alerting employees in advance, nearly one out of six of the snooping employers said they don’t warn their workers.

If all kinds of monitoring are taken into account--including, for example, video surveillance at convenience stores and banks to combat theft--the share of employers engaging in such activity rises to 63.4%. The survey was conducted by the nonprofit American Management Assn. and the newsletter Employment Testing: Law and Policy Reporter.


Employee Finds Hidden Camera in Bathroom

Video surveillance has become commonplace in many American workplaces, but now this type of electronic snooping has reached a new frontier: the employee bathroom.

That little-known fact was discovered this week by chagrined workers at the Consolidated Freightways truck terminal in the Riverside County community of Mira Loma. Many of the terminal’s 600 employees are furious after learning that their restroom visits may have been captured on video.

“We shouldn’t have those kinds of Gestapo tactics here,” said Robert Westreicher, a Consolidated dockworker with 15 years on the job.

Although employee-restroom snooping still is far from the norm among employers, privacy experts said the Mira Loma incident underscores that it no longer is uncommon and may be spreading. They say it most often takes place at companies where managers want to crack down on workers believed to be using restrooms as hide-outs to deal in drugs or stolen merchandise.

Consolidated officials said their secret cameras were installed in two men’s bathrooms several months ago at the Mira Loma facility to track down the suspected use and sale of illegal drugs by employees. The company said that over the last year and a half, it has dismissed eight to 10 workers at the Teamsters union-represented terminal on drug- or alcohol-related grounds.

Michael Brown, a Consolidated spokesman, emphasized that the video cameras were aimed toward the entrances, in front of the sinks and, in one case, at an open area in the corner where drugs supposedly were sold. The cameras were focused “nowhere near the urinal area or the [toilet] stall area,” he said.

The discovery of the lavatory surveillance was made shortly before midnight Tuesday by an employee who noticed that one of the wall mirrors over the sinks was askew. When he checked further, apparently to readjust the mirror, he came across the hidden camera.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which was called in to investigate, soon found hidden cameras at a second bathroom. Brown said seven more bathrooms were checked, but no other surveillance equipment was found.

Details remained sketchy Thursday, but Brown and a spokesman for the sheriff’s department said two or three cameras were seized from the two bathrooms, along with several videotapes. The case remained under investigation.

The sheriff’s department spokesman, Mark Lohman, said deputies are looking into whether the company violated state law barring surveillance where people have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy. Although neither state nor federal law specifically bars video surveillance in employee bathrooms, judges normally decide such cases by balancing workers’ expectations against the need for the company to maintain a safe, productive workplace.

Other key factors, legal experts said, involve whether the employer tries to limit the intrusiveness of the surveillance and the length of time over which it is used, rather than simply letting the cameras roll indefinitely.

Brown said his Menlo Park-based company, one of the nation’s largest trucking concerns, is concerned about employee privacy. But, he said, the managers of the terminal, the biggest such Consolidated facility in the nation, acted because of the safety threats posed by possible drug use among truck drivers and other terminal workers.

“Our first priority is to protect our employees and to protect our customers’ freight,” he said. Particularly in the safety-sensitive transportation business, Brown added, “you have to protect against employees being impaired.”

“There was more than a reasonable belief,” he said, “that drug activity had taken place, was taking place and would take place.” He said, however, that he didn’t know if the company had ever filed complaints with police about the problem.

Over the last two days, many employees have been fuming. A spokesman for Local 63 of the Teamsters union, which represents most of the terminal’s workers, said it is reviewing its legal options.

Westreicher, 43, said the terminal’s management should be fired. “I get along with management rather well, unlike some others here, but to find out that they had cameras in the bathroom . . . it’s appalling,” he said.

He said use of the hidden bathroom cameras “was just too under the belt, too sneaky, as far as I’m concerned. If they’re trying to clean up the drug problem, that’s commendable. But to do it this way is ridiculous.”

Pat Knutzen, a fellow dockworker and a Teamsters shop steward, added that “the majority of people are very upset about it, to the point of wanting to contact the CEO and president.”

“They want heads to roll over it, Knutzen added. “They feel that the company has crossed some lines that they shouldn’t have crossed.”

In one expression of employee anger, workers passed around a flier with a picture of a man standing in front of a urinal. Printed on it was a company slogan: “Watch us deliver now.”

Such cases have made their way into courtrooms elsewhere. Three years ago, a West Virginia judge ordered a utility company, Monongahela Power Co., to pull surveillance cameras from a locker room. Three employees were awarded $80,000 in damages for invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

While the utility claimed it was trying to combat drug trafficking, workers claimed the camera was intended to spy on union activity.

In a case pending in state court in Massachusetts, five current or former workers at a Sheraton hotel are suing the company for secretly videotaping them and other workers in the male employees’ locker room over a seven-week period in 1991. The workers say they were humiliated after discovering that some of them were captured on videotape. The company has argued in court that the videotaping was intended to investigate drug dealing, and that one “apparent drug transaction” was spotted.

The latest major survey on electronic surveillance in the workplace, a poll of 906 large- and medium-sized U.S. employers released in May, found that 35.3% at least occasionally conduct one or more kinds of electronic snooping on their workers. Those activities included listening to employees’ phone calls or voicemail messages and reading electronic mail or computer files, along with videotaping workers’ activities.

What’s more, the survey found that even though companies often can fend off invasion-of-privacy lawsuits by alerting employees in advance, nearly one out of six of the snooping employers said they don’t warn their workers.

If all kinds of monitoring are taken into account--including, for example, video surveillance at convenience stores and banks to combat theft--the share of employers engaging in such activity rises to 63.4%. The survey was conducted by the nonprofit American Management Assn. and the newsletter Employment Testing: Law and Policy Reporter.


Employee Finds Hidden Camera in Bathroom

Video surveillance has become commonplace in many American workplaces, but now this type of electronic snooping has reached a new frontier: the employee bathroom.

That little-known fact was discovered this week by chagrined workers at the Consolidated Freightways truck terminal in the Riverside County community of Mira Loma. Many of the terminal’s 600 employees are furious after learning that their restroom visits may have been captured on video.

“We shouldn’t have those kinds of Gestapo tactics here,” said Robert Westreicher, a Consolidated dockworker with 15 years on the job.

Although employee-restroom snooping still is far from the norm among employers, privacy experts said the Mira Loma incident underscores that it no longer is uncommon and may be spreading. They say it most often takes place at companies where managers want to crack down on workers believed to be using restrooms as hide-outs to deal in drugs or stolen merchandise.

Consolidated officials said their secret cameras were installed in two men’s bathrooms several months ago at the Mira Loma facility to track down the suspected use and sale of illegal drugs by employees. The company said that over the last year and a half, it has dismissed eight to 10 workers at the Teamsters union-represented terminal on drug- or alcohol-related grounds.

Michael Brown, a Consolidated spokesman, emphasized that the video cameras were aimed toward the entrances, in front of the sinks and, in one case, at an open area in the corner where drugs supposedly were sold. The cameras were focused “nowhere near the urinal area or the [toilet] stall area,” he said.

The discovery of the lavatory surveillance was made shortly before midnight Tuesday by an employee who noticed that one of the wall mirrors over the sinks was askew. When he checked further, apparently to readjust the mirror, he came across the hidden camera.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which was called in to investigate, soon found hidden cameras at a second bathroom. Brown said seven more bathrooms were checked, but no other surveillance equipment was found.

Details remained sketchy Thursday, but Brown and a spokesman for the sheriff’s department said two or three cameras were seized from the two bathrooms, along with several videotapes. The case remained under investigation.

The sheriff’s department spokesman, Mark Lohman, said deputies are looking into whether the company violated state law barring surveillance where people have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy. Although neither state nor federal law specifically bars video surveillance in employee bathrooms, judges normally decide such cases by balancing workers’ expectations against the need for the company to maintain a safe, productive workplace.

Other key factors, legal experts said, involve whether the employer tries to limit the intrusiveness of the surveillance and the length of time over which it is used, rather than simply letting the cameras roll indefinitely.

Brown said his Menlo Park-based company, one of the nation’s largest trucking concerns, is concerned about employee privacy. But, he said, the managers of the terminal, the biggest such Consolidated facility in the nation, acted because of the safety threats posed by possible drug use among truck drivers and other terminal workers.

“Our first priority is to protect our employees and to protect our customers’ freight,” he said. Particularly in the safety-sensitive transportation business, Brown added, “you have to protect against employees being impaired.”

“There was more than a reasonable belief,” he said, “that drug activity had taken place, was taking place and would take place.” He said, however, that he didn’t know if the company had ever filed complaints with police about the problem.

Over the last two days, many employees have been fuming. A spokesman for Local 63 of the Teamsters union, which represents most of the terminal’s workers, said it is reviewing its legal options.

Westreicher, 43, said the terminal’s management should be fired. “I get along with management rather well, unlike some others here, but to find out that they had cameras in the bathroom . . . it’s appalling,” he said.

He said use of the hidden bathroom cameras “was just too under the belt, too sneaky, as far as I’m concerned. If they’re trying to clean up the drug problem, that’s commendable. But to do it this way is ridiculous.”

Pat Knutzen, a fellow dockworker and a Teamsters shop steward, added that “the majority of people are very upset about it, to the point of wanting to contact the CEO and president.”

“They want heads to roll over it, Knutzen added. “They feel that the company has crossed some lines that they shouldn’t have crossed.”

In one expression of employee anger, workers passed around a flier with a picture of a man standing in front of a urinal. Printed on it was a company slogan: “Watch us deliver now.”

Such cases have made their way into courtrooms elsewhere. Three years ago, a West Virginia judge ordered a utility company, Monongahela Power Co., to pull surveillance cameras from a locker room. Three employees were awarded $80,000 in damages for invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

While the utility claimed it was trying to combat drug trafficking, workers claimed the camera was intended to spy on union activity.

In a case pending in state court in Massachusetts, five current or former workers at a Sheraton hotel are suing the company for secretly videotaping them and other workers in the male employees’ locker room over a seven-week period in 1991. The workers say they were humiliated after discovering that some of them were captured on videotape. The company has argued in court that the videotaping was intended to investigate drug dealing, and that one “apparent drug transaction” was spotted.

The latest major survey on electronic surveillance in the workplace, a poll of 906 large- and medium-sized U.S. employers released in May, found that 35.3% at least occasionally conduct one or more kinds of electronic snooping on their workers. Those activities included listening to employees’ phone calls or voicemail messages and reading electronic mail or computer files, along with videotaping workers’ activities.

What’s more, the survey found that even though companies often can fend off invasion-of-privacy lawsuits by alerting employees in advance, nearly one out of six of the snooping employers said they don’t warn their workers.

If all kinds of monitoring are taken into account--including, for example, video surveillance at convenience stores and banks to combat theft--the share of employers engaging in such activity rises to 63.4%. The survey was conducted by the nonprofit American Management Assn. and the newsletter Employment Testing: Law and Policy Reporter.


Employee Finds Hidden Camera in Bathroom

Video surveillance has become commonplace in many American workplaces, but now this type of electronic snooping has reached a new frontier: the employee bathroom.

That little-known fact was discovered this week by chagrined workers at the Consolidated Freightways truck terminal in the Riverside County community of Mira Loma. Many of the terminal’s 600 employees are furious after learning that their restroom visits may have been captured on video.

“We shouldn’t have those kinds of Gestapo tactics here,” said Robert Westreicher, a Consolidated dockworker with 15 years on the job.

Although employee-restroom snooping still is far from the norm among employers, privacy experts said the Mira Loma incident underscores that it no longer is uncommon and may be spreading. They say it most often takes place at companies where managers want to crack down on workers believed to be using restrooms as hide-outs to deal in drugs or stolen merchandise.

Consolidated officials said their secret cameras were installed in two men’s bathrooms several months ago at the Mira Loma facility to track down the suspected use and sale of illegal drugs by employees. The company said that over the last year and a half, it has dismissed eight to 10 workers at the Teamsters union-represented terminal on drug- or alcohol-related grounds.

Michael Brown, a Consolidated spokesman, emphasized that the video cameras were aimed toward the entrances, in front of the sinks and, in one case, at an open area in the corner where drugs supposedly were sold. The cameras were focused “nowhere near the urinal area or the [toilet] stall area,” he said.

The discovery of the lavatory surveillance was made shortly before midnight Tuesday by an employee who noticed that one of the wall mirrors over the sinks was askew. When he checked further, apparently to readjust the mirror, he came across the hidden camera.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which was called in to investigate, soon found hidden cameras at a second bathroom. Brown said seven more bathrooms were checked, but no other surveillance equipment was found.

Details remained sketchy Thursday, but Brown and a spokesman for the sheriff’s department said two or three cameras were seized from the two bathrooms, along with several videotapes. The case remained under investigation.

The sheriff’s department spokesman, Mark Lohman, said deputies are looking into whether the company violated state law barring surveillance where people have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy. Although neither state nor federal law specifically bars video surveillance in employee bathrooms, judges normally decide such cases by balancing workers’ expectations against the need for the company to maintain a safe, productive workplace.

Other key factors, legal experts said, involve whether the employer tries to limit the intrusiveness of the surveillance and the length of time over which it is used, rather than simply letting the cameras roll indefinitely.

Brown said his Menlo Park-based company, one of the nation’s largest trucking concerns, is concerned about employee privacy. But, he said, the managers of the terminal, the biggest such Consolidated facility in the nation, acted because of the safety threats posed by possible drug use among truck drivers and other terminal workers.

“Our first priority is to protect our employees and to protect our customers’ freight,” he said. Particularly in the safety-sensitive transportation business, Brown added, “you have to protect against employees being impaired.”

“There was more than a reasonable belief,” he said, “that drug activity had taken place, was taking place and would take place.” He said, however, that he didn’t know if the company had ever filed complaints with police about the problem.

Over the last two days, many employees have been fuming. A spokesman for Local 63 of the Teamsters union, which represents most of the terminal’s workers, said it is reviewing its legal options.

Westreicher, 43, said the terminal’s management should be fired. “I get along with management rather well, unlike some others here, but to find out that they had cameras in the bathroom . . . it’s appalling,” he said.

He said use of the hidden bathroom cameras “was just too under the belt, too sneaky, as far as I’m concerned. If they’re trying to clean up the drug problem, that’s commendable. But to do it this way is ridiculous.”

Pat Knutzen, a fellow dockworker and a Teamsters shop steward, added that “the majority of people are very upset about it, to the point of wanting to contact the CEO and president.”

“They want heads to roll over it, Knutzen added. “They feel that the company has crossed some lines that they shouldn’t have crossed.”

In one expression of employee anger, workers passed around a flier with a picture of a man standing in front of a urinal. Printed on it was a company slogan: “Watch us deliver now.”

Such cases have made their way into courtrooms elsewhere. Three years ago, a West Virginia judge ordered a utility company, Monongahela Power Co., to pull surveillance cameras from a locker room. Three employees were awarded $80,000 in damages for invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

While the utility claimed it was trying to combat drug trafficking, workers claimed the camera was intended to spy on union activity.

In a case pending in state court in Massachusetts, five current or former workers at a Sheraton hotel are suing the company for secretly videotaping them and other workers in the male employees’ locker room over a seven-week period in 1991. The workers say they were humiliated after discovering that some of them were captured on videotape. The company has argued in court that the videotaping was intended to investigate drug dealing, and that one “apparent drug transaction” was spotted.

The latest major survey on electronic surveillance in the workplace, a poll of 906 large- and medium-sized U.S. employers released in May, found that 35.3% at least occasionally conduct one or more kinds of electronic snooping on their workers. Those activities included listening to employees’ phone calls or voicemail messages and reading electronic mail or computer files, along with videotaping workers’ activities.

What’s more, the survey found that even though companies often can fend off invasion-of-privacy lawsuits by alerting employees in advance, nearly one out of six of the snooping employers said they don’t warn their workers.

If all kinds of monitoring are taken into account--including, for example, video surveillance at convenience stores and banks to combat theft--the share of employers engaging in such activity rises to 63.4%. The survey was conducted by the nonprofit American Management Assn. and the newsletter Employment Testing: Law and Policy Reporter.


Employee Finds Hidden Camera in Bathroom

Video surveillance has become commonplace in many American workplaces, but now this type of electronic snooping has reached a new frontier: the employee bathroom.

That little-known fact was discovered this week by chagrined workers at the Consolidated Freightways truck terminal in the Riverside County community of Mira Loma. Many of the terminal’s 600 employees are furious after learning that their restroom visits may have been captured on video.

“We shouldn’t have those kinds of Gestapo tactics here,” said Robert Westreicher, a Consolidated dockworker with 15 years on the job.

Although employee-restroom snooping still is far from the norm among employers, privacy experts said the Mira Loma incident underscores that it no longer is uncommon and may be spreading. They say it most often takes place at companies where managers want to crack down on workers believed to be using restrooms as hide-outs to deal in drugs or stolen merchandise.

Consolidated officials said their secret cameras were installed in two men’s bathrooms several months ago at the Mira Loma facility to track down the suspected use and sale of illegal drugs by employees. The company said that over the last year and a half, it has dismissed eight to 10 workers at the Teamsters union-represented terminal on drug- or alcohol-related grounds.

Michael Brown, a Consolidated spokesman, emphasized that the video cameras were aimed toward the entrances, in front of the sinks and, in one case, at an open area in the corner where drugs supposedly were sold. The cameras were focused “nowhere near the urinal area or the [toilet] stall area,” he said.

The discovery of the lavatory surveillance was made shortly before midnight Tuesday by an employee who noticed that one of the wall mirrors over the sinks was askew. When he checked further, apparently to readjust the mirror, he came across the hidden camera.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which was called in to investigate, soon found hidden cameras at a second bathroom. Brown said seven more bathrooms were checked, but no other surveillance equipment was found.

Details remained sketchy Thursday, but Brown and a spokesman for the sheriff’s department said two or three cameras were seized from the two bathrooms, along with several videotapes. The case remained under investigation.

The sheriff’s department spokesman, Mark Lohman, said deputies are looking into whether the company violated state law barring surveillance where people have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy. Although neither state nor federal law specifically bars video surveillance in employee bathrooms, judges normally decide such cases by balancing workers’ expectations against the need for the company to maintain a safe, productive workplace.

Other key factors, legal experts said, involve whether the employer tries to limit the intrusiveness of the surveillance and the length of time over which it is used, rather than simply letting the cameras roll indefinitely.

Brown said his Menlo Park-based company, one of the nation’s largest trucking concerns, is concerned about employee privacy. But, he said, the managers of the terminal, the biggest such Consolidated facility in the nation, acted because of the safety threats posed by possible drug use among truck drivers and other terminal workers.

“Our first priority is to protect our employees and to protect our customers’ freight,” he said. Particularly in the safety-sensitive transportation business, Brown added, “you have to protect against employees being impaired.”

“There was more than a reasonable belief,” he said, “that drug activity had taken place, was taking place and would take place.” He said, however, that he didn’t know if the company had ever filed complaints with police about the problem.

Over the last two days, many employees have been fuming. A spokesman for Local 63 of the Teamsters union, which represents most of the terminal’s workers, said it is reviewing its legal options.

Westreicher, 43, said the terminal’s management should be fired. “I get along with management rather well, unlike some others here, but to find out that they had cameras in the bathroom . . . it’s appalling,” he said.

He said use of the hidden bathroom cameras “was just too under the belt, too sneaky, as far as I’m concerned. If they’re trying to clean up the drug problem, that’s commendable. But to do it this way is ridiculous.”

Pat Knutzen, a fellow dockworker and a Teamsters shop steward, added that “the majority of people are very upset about it, to the point of wanting to contact the CEO and president.”

“They want heads to roll over it, Knutzen added. “They feel that the company has crossed some lines that they shouldn’t have crossed.”

In one expression of employee anger, workers passed around a flier with a picture of a man standing in front of a urinal. Printed on it was a company slogan: “Watch us deliver now.”

Such cases have made their way into courtrooms elsewhere. Three years ago, a West Virginia judge ordered a utility company, Monongahela Power Co., to pull surveillance cameras from a locker room. Three employees were awarded $80,000 in damages for invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

While the utility claimed it was trying to combat drug trafficking, workers claimed the camera was intended to spy on union activity.

In a case pending in state court in Massachusetts, five current or former workers at a Sheraton hotel are suing the company for secretly videotaping them and other workers in the male employees’ locker room over a seven-week period in 1991. The workers say they were humiliated after discovering that some of them were captured on videotape. The company has argued in court that the videotaping was intended to investigate drug dealing, and that one “apparent drug transaction” was spotted.

The latest major survey on electronic surveillance in the workplace, a poll of 906 large- and medium-sized U.S. employers released in May, found that 35.3% at least occasionally conduct one or more kinds of electronic snooping on their workers. Those activities included listening to employees’ phone calls or voicemail messages and reading electronic mail or computer files, along with videotaping workers’ activities.

What’s more, the survey found that even though companies often can fend off invasion-of-privacy lawsuits by alerting employees in advance, nearly one out of six of the snooping employers said they don’t warn their workers.

If all kinds of monitoring are taken into account--including, for example, video surveillance at convenience stores and banks to combat theft--the share of employers engaging in such activity rises to 63.4%. The survey was conducted by the nonprofit American Management Assn. and the newsletter Employment Testing: Law and Policy Reporter.


Employee Finds Hidden Camera in Bathroom

Video surveillance has become commonplace in many American workplaces, but now this type of electronic snooping has reached a new frontier: the employee bathroom.

That little-known fact was discovered this week by chagrined workers at the Consolidated Freightways truck terminal in the Riverside County community of Mira Loma. Many of the terminal’s 600 employees are furious after learning that their restroom visits may have been captured on video.

“We shouldn’t have those kinds of Gestapo tactics here,” said Robert Westreicher, a Consolidated dockworker with 15 years on the job.

Although employee-restroom snooping still is far from the norm among employers, privacy experts said the Mira Loma incident underscores that it no longer is uncommon and may be spreading. They say it most often takes place at companies where managers want to crack down on workers believed to be using restrooms as hide-outs to deal in drugs or stolen merchandise.

Consolidated officials said their secret cameras were installed in two men’s bathrooms several months ago at the Mira Loma facility to track down the suspected use and sale of illegal drugs by employees. The company said that over the last year and a half, it has dismissed eight to 10 workers at the Teamsters union-represented terminal on drug- or alcohol-related grounds.

Michael Brown, a Consolidated spokesman, emphasized that the video cameras were aimed toward the entrances, in front of the sinks and, in one case, at an open area in the corner where drugs supposedly were sold. The cameras were focused “nowhere near the urinal area or the [toilet] stall area,” he said.

The discovery of the lavatory surveillance was made shortly before midnight Tuesday by an employee who noticed that one of the wall mirrors over the sinks was askew. When he checked further, apparently to readjust the mirror, he came across the hidden camera.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which was called in to investigate, soon found hidden cameras at a second bathroom. Brown said seven more bathrooms were checked, but no other surveillance equipment was found.

Details remained sketchy Thursday, but Brown and a spokesman for the sheriff’s department said two or three cameras were seized from the two bathrooms, along with several videotapes. The case remained under investigation.

The sheriff’s department spokesman, Mark Lohman, said deputies are looking into whether the company violated state law barring surveillance where people have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy. Although neither state nor federal law specifically bars video surveillance in employee bathrooms, judges normally decide such cases by balancing workers’ expectations against the need for the company to maintain a safe, productive workplace.

Other key factors, legal experts said, involve whether the employer tries to limit the intrusiveness of the surveillance and the length of time over which it is used, rather than simply letting the cameras roll indefinitely.

Brown said his Menlo Park-based company, one of the nation’s largest trucking concerns, is concerned about employee privacy. But, he said, the managers of the terminal, the biggest such Consolidated facility in the nation, acted because of the safety threats posed by possible drug use among truck drivers and other terminal workers.

“Our first priority is to protect our employees and to protect our customers’ freight,” he said. Particularly in the safety-sensitive transportation business, Brown added, “you have to protect against employees being impaired.”

“There was more than a reasonable belief,” he said, “that drug activity had taken place, was taking place and would take place.” He said, however, that he didn’t know if the company had ever filed complaints with police about the problem.

Over the last two days, many employees have been fuming. A spokesman for Local 63 of the Teamsters union, which represents most of the terminal’s workers, said it is reviewing its legal options.

Westreicher, 43, said the terminal’s management should be fired. “I get along with management rather well, unlike some others here, but to find out that they had cameras in the bathroom . . . it’s appalling,” he said.

He said use of the hidden bathroom cameras “was just too under the belt, too sneaky, as far as I’m concerned. If they’re trying to clean up the drug problem, that’s commendable. But to do it this way is ridiculous.”

Pat Knutzen, a fellow dockworker and a Teamsters shop steward, added that “the majority of people are very upset about it, to the point of wanting to contact the CEO and president.”

“They want heads to roll over it, Knutzen added. “They feel that the company has crossed some lines that they shouldn’t have crossed.”

In one expression of employee anger, workers passed around a flier with a picture of a man standing in front of a urinal. Printed on it was a company slogan: “Watch us deliver now.”

Such cases have made their way into courtrooms elsewhere. Three years ago, a West Virginia judge ordered a utility company, Monongahela Power Co., to pull surveillance cameras from a locker room. Three employees were awarded $80,000 in damages for invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

While the utility claimed it was trying to combat drug trafficking, workers claimed the camera was intended to spy on union activity.

In a case pending in state court in Massachusetts, five current or former workers at a Sheraton hotel are suing the company for secretly videotaping them and other workers in the male employees’ locker room over a seven-week period in 1991. The workers say they were humiliated after discovering that some of them were captured on videotape. The company has argued in court that the videotaping was intended to investigate drug dealing, and that one “apparent drug transaction” was spotted.

The latest major survey on electronic surveillance in the workplace, a poll of 906 large- and medium-sized U.S. employers released in May, found that 35.3% at least occasionally conduct one or more kinds of electronic snooping on their workers. Those activities included listening to employees’ phone calls or voicemail messages and reading electronic mail or computer files, along with videotaping workers’ activities.

What’s more, the survey found that even though companies often can fend off invasion-of-privacy lawsuits by alerting employees in advance, nearly one out of six of the snooping employers said they don’t warn their workers.

If all kinds of monitoring are taken into account--including, for example, video surveillance at convenience stores and banks to combat theft--the share of employers engaging in such activity rises to 63.4%. The survey was conducted by the nonprofit American Management Assn. and the newsletter Employment Testing: Law and Policy Reporter.


Employee Finds Hidden Camera in Bathroom

Video surveillance has become commonplace in many American workplaces, but now this type of electronic snooping has reached a new frontier: the employee bathroom.

That little-known fact was discovered this week by chagrined workers at the Consolidated Freightways truck terminal in the Riverside County community of Mira Loma. Many of the terminal’s 600 employees are furious after learning that their restroom visits may have been captured on video.

“We shouldn’t have those kinds of Gestapo tactics here,” said Robert Westreicher, a Consolidated dockworker with 15 years on the job.

Although employee-restroom snooping still is far from the norm among employers, privacy experts said the Mira Loma incident underscores that it no longer is uncommon and may be spreading. They say it most often takes place at companies where managers want to crack down on workers believed to be using restrooms as hide-outs to deal in drugs or stolen merchandise.

Consolidated officials said their secret cameras were installed in two men’s bathrooms several months ago at the Mira Loma facility to track down the suspected use and sale of illegal drugs by employees. The company said that over the last year and a half, it has dismissed eight to 10 workers at the Teamsters union-represented terminal on drug- or alcohol-related grounds.

Michael Brown, a Consolidated spokesman, emphasized that the video cameras were aimed toward the entrances, in front of the sinks and, in one case, at an open area in the corner where drugs supposedly were sold. The cameras were focused “nowhere near the urinal area or the [toilet] stall area,” he said.

The discovery of the lavatory surveillance was made shortly before midnight Tuesday by an employee who noticed that one of the wall mirrors over the sinks was askew. When he checked further, apparently to readjust the mirror, he came across the hidden camera.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which was called in to investigate, soon found hidden cameras at a second bathroom. Brown said seven more bathrooms were checked, but no other surveillance equipment was found.

Details remained sketchy Thursday, but Brown and a spokesman for the sheriff’s department said two or three cameras were seized from the two bathrooms, along with several videotapes. The case remained under investigation.

The sheriff’s department spokesman, Mark Lohman, said deputies are looking into whether the company violated state law barring surveillance where people have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy. Although neither state nor federal law specifically bars video surveillance in employee bathrooms, judges normally decide such cases by balancing workers’ expectations against the need for the company to maintain a safe, productive workplace.

Other key factors, legal experts said, involve whether the employer tries to limit the intrusiveness of the surveillance and the length of time over which it is used, rather than simply letting the cameras roll indefinitely.

Brown said his Menlo Park-based company, one of the nation’s largest trucking concerns, is concerned about employee privacy. But, he said, the managers of the terminal, the biggest such Consolidated facility in the nation, acted because of the safety threats posed by possible drug use among truck drivers and other terminal workers.

“Our first priority is to protect our employees and to protect our customers’ freight,” he said. Particularly in the safety-sensitive transportation business, Brown added, “you have to protect against employees being impaired.”

“There was more than a reasonable belief,” he said, “that drug activity had taken place, was taking place and would take place.” He said, however, that he didn’t know if the company had ever filed complaints with police about the problem.

Over the last two days, many employees have been fuming. A spokesman for Local 63 of the Teamsters union, which represents most of the terminal’s workers, said it is reviewing its legal options.

Westreicher, 43, said the terminal’s management should be fired. “I get along with management rather well, unlike some others here, but to find out that they had cameras in the bathroom . . . it’s appalling,” he said.

He said use of the hidden bathroom cameras “was just too under the belt, too sneaky, as far as I’m concerned. If they’re trying to clean up the drug problem, that’s commendable. But to do it this way is ridiculous.”

Pat Knutzen, a fellow dockworker and a Teamsters shop steward, added that “the majority of people are very upset about it, to the point of wanting to contact the CEO and president.”

“They want heads to roll over it, Knutzen added. “They feel that the company has crossed some lines that they shouldn’t have crossed.”

In one expression of employee anger, workers passed around a flier with a picture of a man standing in front of a urinal. Printed on it was a company slogan: “Watch us deliver now.”

Such cases have made their way into courtrooms elsewhere. Three years ago, a West Virginia judge ordered a utility company, Monongahela Power Co., to pull surveillance cameras from a locker room. Three employees were awarded $80,000 in damages for invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

While the utility claimed it was trying to combat drug trafficking, workers claimed the camera was intended to spy on union activity.

In a case pending in state court in Massachusetts, five current or former workers at a Sheraton hotel are suing the company for secretly videotaping them and other workers in the male employees’ locker room over a seven-week period in 1991. The workers say they were humiliated after discovering that some of them were captured on videotape. The company has argued in court that the videotaping was intended to investigate drug dealing, and that one “apparent drug transaction” was spotted.

The latest major survey on electronic surveillance in the workplace, a poll of 906 large- and medium-sized U.S. employers released in May, found that 35.3% at least occasionally conduct one or more kinds of electronic snooping on their workers. Those activities included listening to employees’ phone calls or voicemail messages and reading electronic mail or computer files, along with videotaping workers’ activities.

What’s more, the survey found that even though companies often can fend off invasion-of-privacy lawsuits by alerting employees in advance, nearly one out of six of the snooping employers said they don’t warn their workers.

If all kinds of monitoring are taken into account--including, for example, video surveillance at convenience stores and banks to combat theft--the share of employers engaging in such activity rises to 63.4%. The survey was conducted by the nonprofit American Management Assn. and the newsletter Employment Testing: Law and Policy Reporter.


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