Wednesday, September 10, 2014

We are always being watched—Ray Rice and workplace investigations

On Monday, the NFL indefinitely suspended, and the Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of, Ray Rice after TMZ published security camera footage of Rice hitting his then-fiancée. What’s surprising about this story isn’t that the footage existed, but that it took the NFL six months to see it and act on it.

We live in a surveilled world. There are an estimated 30 million closed-circuit surveillance cameras in the United States. There are an additional 190 million cell phones with cameras. These numbers don’t account for drones in the sky and other modes of video recording. In total, there exists the potential of 220 million recording eyes watching you at all times.

It is a brave new world of workplace investigations. He-said/she-said has been replaced by “let’s go to the tape.” If you are not considering the possibility (probability?) of an alleged incident between employees having been recorded somehow, by someone or something, you cannot and should not consider your investigation complete. There is no doubt that we have sacrificed a lot of personal privacy in the name of personal security. Employers should be using this to their advantage to leave no stone unturned in uncovering the truth about allegations of harassment and other misconduct.

[Photo by Hustvedt (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]