Surveillance in the Workplace 3.0

surveillance in the workplace

Surveillance in the Workplace

With the innovations in video camera technology, surveillance in the workplace has become more accessible and more flexible than ever before. In the past, covert surveillance in the workplace was almost always conducted by an actual investigator. The technology to support dynamic surveillance in difficult to monitor areas has allowed for cameras to be placed in all manner of places and allows employers to protect company personnel and assets like never before.

The latest round of temporary, moveable, covert surveillance technology not only allows for surveillance recording in more places, it also allows for monitoring from these locatisurveillance in the workplaceons. For example, a camera can be placed in a outdoor storage building that lacks power, it can record in total darkness and send motion activated alerts to the proper personnel in real time. This not only allows you to capture video evidence of the activity you want, it allows for the possibility of real time interdiction.

It is important to remember that a reasonable expectation of privacy has to be reasonable. Just because an employee has found an area of the office where she can go and drink alcohol without being seen because no one uses that area during their normal work day does not mean that they are entitled to privacy while in that area. Private areas, like restrooms, locker rooms and private, walled off offices remain private.

As you know, employees who engage in inappropriate behavior are acutely aware of the location of visible, stationary security cameras. The flexibility of constantly modifying your video footprint  to optimize surveillance in the workplace will keep everyone safer and save significant money in the process. This flexibility can be used for loss prevention, eliminating employee time theft, thwart drug and alcohol use and much more.

If you have questions about surveillance in the workplace and how our surveillance experts might be able to help, please call us today. The consultation is free.

Non-Compete Agreement Enforcement Begins with Gathering Evidence

non-competition agreement

Having a non-compete agreement is an essential step in securing your business assets, almost like insurance, from one of the most damaging types of the potential employee theft; theft of your clients. Unfortunately, a signed agreement is only the first step. Once an ex-employee violates that agreement and begins stealing from you, you need the right lawyer and investigator to enforce the agreement, stop them from stealing your clients and compensate you for the damages they caused. Non-compete agreement enforcement begins with gathering evidence. non-competition agreement

At ASG, we have assisted hundreds of businesses and owner groups to help enforce non-compete agreements.

Effectively, we have two ways of going about this. The first is to identify and document whatever business the violator is conducting through interviews, document retrieval and background checks. Establishing a timeline of events and documenting the proof of business transactions is crucial. You need a trained investigator who can read between and beyond the lines to not only document the violations that are easy to see, but to also locate other instances that have yet to be uncovered. As the investigation unfold, ASG will help legal your legal counsel to target additional avenues to send subpoenas to further the evidence collection process.

The second way that ASG frequently collects evidence for non-compete agreement enforcement is by conducting surveillance of the offender and sometimes even their partners or proxies. Surveillance is unique and powerful evidence that demonstrates the violator’s actions in an undeniable way.

If you are seeking help with non-competition agreement enforcement, call one of our team today. We can walk you through the process, help you to determine if an investigation is appropriate and, as always, the consultation is guaranteed to be confidential by law.

Paul Dank Achieves Board Certification in Investigations

bai-logo

For Immediate Release

Contact: Harvey E. Morse, Founder- BAI

Voice: 386-547-3600

harvey@ bestpi .com

 

BOARD ACCREDITED INVESTIGATOR

Local Private Investigator successfully completes requirements and earns the

Designation of “BAI”

 

The Board of Accredited Investigators, Inc. and lntellenet are proud to announce that Paul Dank.

has completed all of the requirements to be awarded the designation of Board Accredited Investigator (BAI).

To achieve this prestigious designation, the applicant must hold a valid private investigator’s license where required and successfully complete Board approved ongoing training which may be by written exam, specialized courses and the submission of a white paper on an investigative subject not restricted to a particular state. The results of the effort are evaluated and finally approved by peer review. To maintain the designation, the licensee must agree to pursue continuing education on an annual basis in accordance with the strict guidelines of the Board.

“We perform very serious professional investigative services for the public, corporations and the legal community,” said BAI Founder Harvey E. Morse, “and the BAI program allows those who wish to voluntarily establish a higher level of education and credentials to do so, thus gaining recognition and separating themselves from the average investigator.”

Those elite individuals who meet and maintain the highest standards of the investigative profession who successfully complete the extensive program requirements, are ultimately awarded the BAI designation with whom clients can engage assuredly.

Screening a third-party employee

Screening a third-party employee

Screening a Third-Party EmployeeSo many of today’s business responsibilities are outsourced to contractors, freelancers, and temporary workers. This saves companies on overhead and all the costs that are associated with bringing on a full-time, permanent employee. However, while the cost of hiring extended work employee may be reduced, the price you pay by not screening a third-party employee and investigating their credentials with the help of a private investigator could end up costing your business a fortune in the long run.

Why Screening a Third-Party Employee Is Necessary

Workers affiliated with a staffing agency are typically subject to background screenings directly through the agency, which ideally positions their staffers as cleared and legit employees for whichever company needs their assistance. However, there are other groups of outsourced workers who often go without screenings, such as interns, volunteers, unpaid workers, and vendor representatives.

Every person who steps foot in your place of business to carry out a job – whether it’s for your company specifically, or to aid your company (say, a copy machine repairperson) – should be screened. Do you trust your vendors to screen all of their employees so that anyone who comes to your place of business from another company will be on the up and up? Chances are, you don’t have time to conduct such screenings yourself. At certain points it’s necessary to trust the other businesses you’re affiliated with, and at other times it’s critical to take matters into your own hands and conduct your own third-party employee screenings with the assistance of a private investigator.

Here are some things employers should keep in mind when considering third-party employee screenings:

  • Security threats: There is a unique security threat from the extended workforce. Employees in this category are more likely to have a criminal record or a history of drug and alcohol abuse than permanent hires.
  • Checkered pasts: Applicants with a checkered history are more likely to apply for jobs where background checks are not performed so their past actions do not jeopardize their chances for employment. Temporary and contract positions often fit the bill.
  • Accessibility: Third-party workers hired by vendors, like maintenance experts or cleaning crews, often have access to the entirety of a workplace, and they may or may not have been screened by the company that is outsourcing them to your business.
  • Proprietary information: The energy expended on a background check should fit the position. A freelance IT specialist, for example, has access to proprietary information and the life’s blood of your company. A third-party employee screening conducted by a private investigator is essential before inviting anyone into your company’s computer system.

Federal and state background screening laws do exist, but there are a great number of gray areas where the extended work force can fall through the cracks. Neglecting to do a third-party employee screening leaves room for cases of negligence or the exposure of employees, clients, and customers to people with a violent past, convictions, firings, business fraud, and other questionable situations.

Why Hire ASG for Screening a Third-Party Employee?

Many companies that use third-party employees regularly affiliate themselves with staffing agencies or vendors who agree on third-party screening methods that mirror the company’s hiring policy for permanent employees. It is wise to negotiate these terms at the start of a business relationship so that safety on all fronts is always foremost in everyone’s mind and any threats to the workplace environment are minimized. But even in negotiations like this, screenings slip through the cracks and are not conducted as thoroughly as they should be.

The ASG investigative team is prepared to conduct the kind of thorough background check that will ensure the acquisition of high-quality third-party employees at any stage in the hiring process. While not only assigning investigative specialists to your case who are privy to the most pertinent of records in a background investigation, ASG offers a level of legal protection to a company by offering such detailed information about a potential employee. There is also a benefit for future employees – because screening a third-party employee involves notifying the candidate of the investigation, outsourcing this task to a private entity like ASG maintains trust between a business and their new employee.

Why Investigating Employee Misconduct is Not Optional

lone employeeAs professional investigators who work regularly with corporate clients. including HR departments, corporate counsel, security leadership and outside counsel, with new clients, we sometimes encounter some reluctance to hiring a private investigative agency. This leads us to explain why investigating employee misconduct is not optional.

The reluctance always seems to stem from one concern: their will be a negative perception to hiring a PI to spy on one of our employees.

Lets begin with the idea that hiring a professional to investigate an employee is negative. Professional investigators do not spy. They do conduct the appropriate type of investigation to try and prove or disprove an allegation of wrong doing. The reason you are using a PI to do this is because they are the exact tool you need to do the job correctly. This is what they do. They were trained for it. They are court recognized experts at it, etc. etc. The problem lies not in the private investigators, but in the Hollywood portrayal of same. Almost nonstop since the 1960s, television shows have been airing about PIs doing all manner of unrealistic, crazy, unprofessional, unethical things, and are watched by millions. Today’s corporate investigators are far removed from that world, but the perception is that we are reckless and cross the line for our clients. If you are doing even the slightest due diligence on the investigative agency you are planning on working with, you can quickly discern the experts from the small time, spouse chasers who are truly not capable of working on most corporate matters, and even they are not capable of the trouble caused by TV PIs.

To further clarify why hiring a professional investigator is the proper move when facing an allegation of employee misconduct, think of the other options. You can conduct the investigation though your internal staff, but this creates a number of undesirable byproducts and raises some issues too. Whoever performs the investigation will certainly be known forever as the one who gets coworkers fired. No one in your organization will look at them the same. Another issue is the training and experience of the person you select internally and how they may not be qualified to conduct such an investigation. The results may suffer. Personal issues between employees, supervisors, ideas of secondary gain and the like can also cause conflicts with an internally conducted investigation, despite your best intentions. Even if you fall back on the “companies” outside legal counsel to conduct the investigation, it smacks of bias given that they are always on managements side of such matters. In short, getting a qualified outside investigator to conduct an impartial investigation is critical.

Lastly, one can site the need to protect everyone’s interests, from shareholders to managers, from coworkers to the accused, and even outside regulators with compliance needs by using a third party. All of these constituents have a stake in achieving an unbiased outcome to the investigation.

For more information on why investigating employee misconduct is not optional, or to talk with one of our professionals, please call us today at 888-677-69700

Employee Theft Often Leads Small Firms to Make Bad Choices ~ WSJ Article

External threats

They Often Try to Give the Thief Another Chance—Instead of Breaking Ties Quickly and Decisively

By  ALINA DIZIK

January 26, 2015

For small businesses, employee theft deals a double blow. First, whether it’s money, equipment or data that gets stolen, the business has to absorb a hit it often doesn’t have the capacity to absorb. And second, it loses a lot of the mutual trust that a tightly knit operation depends on.

Experts say that entrepreneurs who have been hit by employee theft should tread carefully. It’s easy to make missteps, which could lead to more disruptions in the workplace and legal action from the accused employee.

Make It Quick

First, experts say, the best approach in almost all cases is to cut ties quickly. Many entrepreneurs may have an impulse to try to recover what was stolen, or to give an employee—particularly a once-trusted one—a chance to explain or make amends

But it’s better to write off losses and let someone go as soon as possible, explaining the move as “downsizing” and not mentioning the theft at all.

Accusing an employee of theft will mean the company needs to present bulletproof evidence of possible wrongdoing and may end up facing legal action from the accused, says Ellen Rohr, a small-business consultant in Rogersville, Mo.

“If I’m not going to prosecute, I’m not going to confront [the employee] about it,” she says. “Be really careful of what you accuse [the employee] of.”

Even though it can feel dishonest, telling an employee he or she has been downsized without giving a specific reason leaves less room for error, she says.

Full article here.

Ms. Dizik is a writer in New York. She can be reached atreports@wsj.com.

Fraud Number One Reason To Conduct Background Checks On Workers or Partners From Outside US

Restaurant & Bar Investigations bartender pouring beer

As the World Economic Forum kicks off this week in Davos, Switzerland, one of the most talked about threats to business outside of the US and the Canada is fraud. In many countries, organizational and individual fraud is a daily part of business life. From the $5.00 payoff to a bureaucrat to do their job all the way to institutional cyber crime ring participation, fraud and criminal behavior are still far to common and in many places culturally accepted. As workers move to the US, some bring the criminal culture with them.

Many employers like to look at the socioeconomic background of the job candidate, and if she or he come from a family appearing higher on that scale, they deduce that it is the result of success through hard, honest work. Unfortunately the reality is that fraud and crime in other countries pays off. Fraud and corruption lead to a better life and those who are “good at business” in many places are also good at the business of cutting corners and “making things happen” in their favor. In order to get ahead, one often engages in the “business as usual” and finds that no one in the immediate community is even phased by the acceptance of or participation in fraud and corruption.These are behaviors and norms that are hard to unlearn simply through the act of moving.

Once someone immigrates to the US, they often feel that their activities back at home are far away and, if illegal or unethical, will remain hidden. They often count on the fact that many employers will not take the time to check. This is a good way to save time and simultaneously increasing your risk and liability.

When hiring employees from outside the US, the need for a complete background check, although more expensive and requiring more time, is absolutely essential. For more information about our employee screening services, please call us at 888-677-9700.

Retailers fight holiday return fraud

Holiday return fraud: Christmas is over, the gifts have been exchanged and the presents opened, but the holiday shopping season is far from over.

It’s only December 26, and millions are already preparing to return unwanted gifts.  This year, many retailers are tightening up return policies to fight frivolous returns and flat out fraud.

Before you venture out to make your returns, check the website of the store you’re going to– and get familiar with their policy. Make sure you have a receipt, leave the tags on and make sure the item is in sell-able condition.  If you don’t have a receipt, don’t expect to get cash back.

If your gift was purchased online, many retailers will let you return it to the store. Don’t ship the item back without talking to the person who gave it to you. Unless you are making an even exchange, the refund will go back to the buyer, and you won’t see any of it.

Now is also a good time to shop, even if you don’t have a return. After Christmas sales are huge for retailers, with discounts at more than 50% to 69% over the next few weeks.

Are health care industry background checks falling short of protecting patients?

The health care industry has been conducting background checks for physicians, nurses and others that have patient care responsibilities. What is unique about the industry is how many of these are done. Frequently the employee is asked to obtain a copy of their own records and submit them for licensing and they are told which source, usually a state criminal background check, to obtain the records from. Employers then asked for a copy of them and use that in the hiring decision. No other industry makes a practice of leaving the records in the control of the employee and in many cases, the state criminal record searches conducted are limited and incomplete. Outside of healthcare, a release is signed and the employer then conducts the searches by a professional employment screening company.

The net result is patients and co-workers can end up with their records and even care in the hands of criminals. In November, a Michigan couple managed to gain employment at two Detroit area hospitals and allegedly stole the records of 1,000 patients. They used or intended to use the personal information of those victims to file fraudulent tax returns in their names.

Health care industry background checks

Embezzlement Ever Present Threat To Michigan Businesses

Embezzlement is an every present threat to Michigan businesses, both large and small. Embezzlement includes computer fraud, employee theft, credit card fraud, transferring of money or account conversion, faulty checks, forgery and more. In Michigan and elsewhere, businesses rely on trusted employees to oversee operations and protect the company and it’s assets. Unfortunately, those trusted employees are often the ones who do the most damage when abuse their position to ingratiate themselves and defraud the company.

Often the next and most obvious question is; why do valued employees commit embezzlement and fraud? Research on fraud has identified three key factors that determine whether a person will commit fraud.  The three factors, which are commonly referred to and the “fraud triangle,” are: 1- perceived pressure facing the person, 2- perceived opportunity to commit fraud, and 3- the person’s rationalization, or integrity. Now immediately what comes to mind is a shady middle aged guy who has managed to sneak into some poorly managed business to defraud it, and planned to do it all along. Wrong guy. Although he may exist, far more often, it is a truly trusted employee who encountered the pressure, opportunity and ultimately rationalization that lead them to “borrow” money temporarily out of “necessity”.

So now you say, no if one of our key people was having a problem, they would tell me. They don’t have the type of pressure that could lead to this. Wrong again. One of the main reasons this happens is the tremendous pressure they feel to conceal the underlying problem and to fix it in private. The idea of others knowing that they are in financial straights is extremely threatening to them and they will do almost anything to avoid that detection.

ASG is a leader in the investigative industry and helping to uncover fraud and embezzlement in Michigan is just one of the ways that we help businesses to uncover problems and in preventing employee theft.