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Keywords: Liability And Productivity - Articles Surfing

If you own, manage or otherwise have a vested interest in a company or business, be it large or small, two words accompany every decision you make: liability and productivity. They are on opposite sides of the scale, but such as the use of a scale would indicate, balance is the key. The goal is to limit liability and increase productivity. From an investigator's perspective, here are a couple ways you can do that:

General employee conduct investigations can save a company huge expenses when speaking of liability. Case in point: While conducting an insurance surveillance of a female who was unemployed due to a personal injury claim, my investigator observed an individual arrive at her residence in a clearly-marked company vehicle, a company which had nothing to do with this female's claim or prior employment. My investigator followed and documented the actions of these two as they traveled into an adjacent state and back before returning to her apartment. In short, the male (married to someone other than this female we were watching) spent half of his work day with this female, much of it in the privacy of her residence. Not only did he waste his employer's money, thereby limiting productivity, he placed the company at substantial risk by violating insurance regulations of having her in the company vehicle, thereby raising liability. Remember, this was a person who was already engaged in personal injury litigation; she is the last person an employer would want riding in the company vehicle.

There are several ways a company can detect this type of employee misconduct, obtain indisputable evidence to be used in disciplinary hearings or court, and most importantly, deter others from engaging in similar conduct.

In this case I recommended to the general manager of the company a two-stage investigation: the first would be to deploy a tracking device on the employee's assigned company vehicle for one week to establish a pattern; the second step would be to conduct live surveillance with video documentation. These methods are obvious in resolving the misconduct issue at hand, but what may not be so obvious is the affect this action would have on other employees.

Studies have shown that companies that take an aggressive stance on worker's comp fraud have seen a decrease in claims. The reason for that is simple: the employee knows if he/she makes a claim, there's a good chance they'll be placed under surveillance at some point in time. That alone deters many false claims, especially if a company is willing to prosecute or dismiss employees once the claim is proven false. That is only part of the equation though.

An example I like to use is how in law enforcement we utilized decoys to combat prostitution. First, the prostitutes themselves are arrested. Second, the decoys are used to arrest would-be customers, otherwise known as johns. The media is alerted so that word spreads and this becomes the deterrent. The otherwise law-abiding citizen driving home after a couple drinks who might be tempted by the short-skirted prostitute on the corner will remember the decoys and stings as he chooses to follow his moral compass and stay on course.

In the case of the straying employee described in this article, chances are if he had any idea which direction his life was about to turn, he would have immediately discontinued his activities.

Finally, consider the affect this has on the other employees: once an example is made of the employee in violation, others will always remember the sting, so to speak. Routine integrity checks are a great way to solidify the employer's stance on misconduct. Occasionally deploying tracking devices in a random fashion*and letting that fact be known*can do wonders for the integrity of your workforce.

Submitted by:

Danny R. Smith

Danny R. Smith, a former homicide detective from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, is Founder and Chief Investigator of DRS Investigations in Idaho. For more information visit his site at: http://www.drsinvestigations.com



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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