Fingerprint Clocking In Systems and The General Use Of Biometrics To Monitor Employees, Is Still Causing Controversy In The City
Employee Monitoring: McCague Borlack, Toronto Law Firm, Aims To Fingerprint Non-Lawyer Staff
McCague Borlack LLP, a law firm that specializes in banking and insurance litigation, is planning to implement fingerprint reading technology at its offices this month, to address complaints about employees who were taking excessively long lunch breaks or cutting out early from work. The new system will not apply to the company’s lawyers, only its administrative staff.
“Some people were abusing the system,” founding partner Howard Borlack told theToronto Star. “We had people taking two to three hours for lunch and we had no way of knowing. . . . Some people were complaining.”
He said the primary purpose of the new system was to improve building security, but being able to track workers is “a huge bonus.”
Employees of the firm have evidently launched a website, called Which Finger to Give to Bay Street, to protest the move.
“Life is good for the lawyers at the firm; their money keeps rolling in at $400/hr. Often at a higher rate! Their secretaries are not so lucky. Secretaries at this firm earn 20 times less than these fancy Bay Street Lawyers. And secretaries are treated with the following degrading contempt: a finger printing program!” the website states.
“I suspect that the vast majority of workers will find forced fingerprinting by their employer to be offensive. Certainly, [I] suspect highly qualified legal secretaries won’t be rushing to come work at this firm now,” York University labour professor David Doorey wrote on his blog.
Doorey notes that fingerprinting workers could violate work contracts if those work contracts stipulate some measure of privacy. But he suggested legal recourse could be sparse for the employees.
As long as a small section of the workforce is prepared to take advantage and lengthen their lunch breaks at the expense of other more conscientious employees, there will be the need to monitor everyone, to ensure people are not abusing the system. It improves moral of the people who do come in on time and don’t leave early, to see such a technology like fingerprint clocking in systems, introduced into the workplace. Only the cheaters have anything to fear.