Caught! How video surveillance captures fake falls and other employee scams
It was the fake fall seen ‘round the world! In a viral video released on the first of February, a workplace surveillance clip shows an employee alone in a staff kitchen. After looking around, the man tosses a glass of ice cubes on the ground before carefully arranging himself in their midst. The worker’s original plan was to wait until being discovered by a horrified colleague, who would find him injured on the floor after an apparent slip. Unfortunately for him, the crystal-clear surveillance camera caught his fraudulent act and denied his costly claims for an ambulance and medical services, among bills.
This type of fraud is shockingly common, costing the insurance industry over $1 billion per year in Ontario alone. In the past, this deception was difficult to detect and even harder to prove. With the advent of social media and the increasing usage of high-definition security video, companies of all sizes now have added protection against false filings. If a worker is legitimately injured on the job, the incident has massive repercussions including reduced morale, reputation damage, fines and investigations. Most businesses take safety seriously and major on-site injuries are fairly rare, which is why employee compensation after such an incident can be high.
Because of this, false reporting occurs across all industries and organizations. In the case of the viral video above, having on-premise video surveillance saved the company from a potentially-costly lawsuit. Of course, not all incidents are quite so blatant. Theft is a common issue with stores, restaurants and offices. While many owners focus on customer shoplifting or potential break-ins, a surprising number of pilfering happens internally. Three out of every four workers admit to stealing from their employer, including swiping small items or even conducting long-term schemes.
Kid-favourite business Chuck E. Cheese found itself the target of countless liability claims from both employees and visitors. Since installing cameras inside its 500+ stores, accusations greatly reduced and in many cases disappeared once the company alerted the individual about the presence of recordings.
The usefulness of this technology is not limited to larger organizations. An owner of a small jewelry kiosk returned to find a large quantity of his merchandise stolen. Though rumors implicated his employees, he had no solid evidence against them, such as video. The merchant was originally reluctant to install cameras due to the initial cost. However, given the aftermath of the incident, including lost business due to closure, he decided to invest in the device and deter future crimes.
There are also preventative uses for surveillance cameras. Reports of workplace sexual harassment and violence are big news when they become public, shining a negative light on that employer and its business practices. The presence of cameras can both deter such occurrences and provide clear evidence should a worker bring up an incident. A Colorado restaurant owner was able to curb bad employee behaviour and increase efficiencies through the use of surveillance video, resulting in significant cost savings.
At this point in time, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for the general population in Canada but this could change rapidly. There…