We all know that HR is never dull, but sometimes it can get downright strange...
So you always wanted to be in the movies...
Some Ontario, California, police officers have filed a federal class-action
lawsuit against the city and its former police chief, alleging they were secretly
videotaped while undressing in the men's locker room of the police station in
The video camera was installed during an internal investigation over the theft
of a flashlight, according to lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union
of Southern California, which is representing the officers. Focused for three
days on a wooden bench in front of several police lockers, the camera recorded
an estimated 125 officers in various stages of undress.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the footage wasn't discovered until April
2003, when an officer found it during the relocation of police headquarters.
"I was left extremely embarrassed, and my privacy has been extremely violated,"
said Ontario police Sgt. Steve Trujillo, who spoke for nine officers at a news
conference held to announce the lawsuit.
The videotaped officers contend the use of the camera violated their right
to privacy. ACLU attorney Peter J. Eliasberg said there was no search warrant
granted that permitted the hidden camera.
"To commit such a blatant violation of the law just to find someone who
committed the suspected petty theft of a flashlight - this was going after
a gnat with a howitzer," Eliasberg said.
The officers said they decided to file suit in federal court after the San
Bernardino County district attorney determined that criminal charges could not
be filed against those allegedly responsible because the statute of limitations
had expired. Moreover, a city investigation determined that none of the Police
Department officials allegedly involved was disciplined and that none of the
officers' rights had been violated.
Sgt. Jeff Quon, a 23-year police veteran who was among the officers shown in
his underwear on the videotape, compared the officers' plight to that of women
who were secretly videotaped while changing into uniforms at a Hooters restaurant
in West Covina, California.
"The Hooters [restaurant manager] got five years in prison for what he
did," Quon said. "Why isn't anyone going to jail for this?"
Angeles Times (Registration may be required.)