Canada, Midsize Firms / Regional Firms, Partner Issues, Secretaries / Administrative Assistants, Technology

Law Firm Institutes New Fingerprinting Policy, Support Staff Give Attorneys the Finger

As New York firms are slowly letting people back into the office after Sandy, a midsize Cadadian firm is implementing new procedures to make sure employees stay there.

No, they aren’t spanking people or playing other disturbing psychological games. They’re using electronic fingerprint IDs.

Apparently too many employees were dipping out early and taking extensive lunch breaks. The circle of trust was broken, so now everyone pays the price.

Well, not everyone, exactly. And that’s part of the problem…

Later this month, Bay Street firm McCague Borlack will roll out a fingerprint-scanning process to keep tabs on employees. All staff, except for “lawyers who spend much of their time with clients” (whatever that means), will have to clock in and out by swiping their finger through a machine.

UPDATE (11/2/2012, 1:00 AM): A source familiar with the firm sent us this emphatic clarification: “[T]he fingerprinting policy at McCague is most certainly just for support staff. No lawyers are required, under any circumstances, to take part.”

A little much? Maybe, but before you get your briefcase in a bunch, well, it seems the firm may have a real slacker — or maybe just unmotivated support staff — problem:

“I know we have people who probably work less than 35 hours a week and if I listen to all the griping about certain people, I’m sure it’s well less than that,” [founding partner Howard] Borlack said.

The firm says the policy is also designed to improve office security.

But secretarial and copyroom staff say they are getting singled out. And they are not taking this grave insult to their dignity sitting down. Well, they are, but they are blogging about their frustration instead. Huzzah!

They have launched Finger Campaign, which says at the top — in rather large font — that the lawyers at the firm “Deserve the finger.” They say the new policy exempts attorneys entirely, and is thus unfair. The home page blog entry goes on rather quickly to violate Godwin’s Law and compare the policy to something Hitler-related. This made my eyes glaze over, and I kind of stopped reading. But hopefully the support staff are not being treated unfairly — especially if the whole boondoggle is the result of a few renegade lunchers.

Right or wrong, I also hope these noble protesters are conducting their protests outside the friendly confines of McCague Borlack. Otherwise, they might not be able to get back INTO the building if the firm fires them for violating a computer usage policy.

Bay Street law firm uses fingerprint technology to monitor employees’ comings and goings [The Star]
Finger Campaign

(hidden for your protection)

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