Company Settles Charges Of Using CCTV To Look at Women's Breasts

By Ben Wood, Published Apr 11, 2014, 12:00am EDT (Info+)

A company was ordered to pay a female employee $11,000 after an investigation found that the owner regularly used the surveillance system to stream footage of the employee's breasts to his computer. What’s shocking is not the settlement (people should be punished for bad behavior), but the admission of the company owner to the victim of how it uses its surveillance system.

In this note, we review incidents the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission calls “a particularly egregious case of sexual harassment.”

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*** **** *** *** ******** **** she ***** ** *** ******* *****’* daughter *** ***** ** **** *** rest ** *** *** ***, *** as *** *** *******, *** ******* owner ****** *** **** *** ****** to **** *** **** ** **** uses *** ******* ** **** ** women ** *** ***** *** **** “men **** ****** **** ** ********* women.”

*** **** ******, ** ****, *** action ** **** ******* ***, ***** not ** ***** *********. *** **** the ****** *** ***** ********.

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************ ********** ****** **** ** ***** that ****** ********** **** *** ** tolerated.

Comments (36)

I read the case linked in the post. can you show me where in that case someone admits to looking at breasts as the headline suggests ?

"A few hours into the video, “the camera zooms in closer to Kelley’s face and chest. Several times throughout the day, the camera repeatedly adjusts to capture Kelley’s movements around her work space and on several occasions zooms in so that Kelley’s chest is the only object visible on the screen.”"

I'm looking for the part where the company admits looking at breasts. I only see a conversation admitting that he looks at women on the camera

In the posting on EEOC.GOV website it mentions breasts.

EEOC Lawsuit Challenges Sexual Harassment at Davis Typewriter Company

Carlton, how do you think the case would have turned out if hi-res digital PTZ had been employed instead of mechanical PTZ?

There would little evidence except maybe fleeting eye-witness tesitimony and hearsay...

Although one could argue that even without evidence the crime still occurred, consider the fact that with dPTZ the recordings are just as 'valuable' as the live view and therefore could be viewed and zoomed years after the employee stopped working there! And so I ask you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, in such a case, when exactly does the harrasment occur?

Not sure I understand your comment...can you clarify?

My comment is two-fold:

First as John presumes, I am saying that the crime would have been far harder to detect had the system consisted of only digital PTZ's, as it was likely discovered by witnessing the mechanical PTZ movements of the camera detected by someone simultaenously viewing live, or later on playback. With digital PTZ the you might have someone bragging about it or even someone being an eye-witness to a one-time event, but since the manager and owner were authorized users of the system, without incriminating footage it would a far harder case to prove.

These assumptions seem IMHO, to be straightforward enough, so I think your clarification request must apply to the second part of the comment, and in an effort to save time I am answering you as if that is the case, apologies if I'm mistaken...

My second point, is more philosophical in nature and as you may have suspected, has a controversial undercurrent running thru it, since it implies that if one cannot state when exactly the crime was committed then how can one say that a crime even was committed?

However, before anyone object that this is somehow saying that the victim didn't suffer or that a crime not was committed, let me make clear that this is only a hypothetical situation, which naturally developed from the clearly counterfactual statement:

..if hi-res digital PTZ had been employed instead of mechanical PTZ?

and therefore did not make any claims about the actual victim or incident.

But the wording could have been clearer and so let me restate a simpler hypothetical:

If the owner had just one 29MP camera (from an unidentified manufacturer), which gave comparable FOVs to the mechanical PTZs, and the owner had a monitor wall which displayed the whole camera view at full resolution, and the owner looked at the employee using this screen, but since it showed the whole view there was no need for any ptz'ing, digital or otherwise, would you say she was being harassed in that case? I don't have a sastifactory answer though, perhaps you do?

the store's cameras would follow Kelley around and zoom in on her face, chest and body. “After discovering this, [the IT Department] moved the security camera back to its proper position, but less than an hour later he noticed the camera had moved back to focus on Kelley’s workspace, frequently zooming in to focus on her face and chest,”

The WHEN is WHEN the zoom occurred the SECOND time as well as each and every time the camera zoomed in on the "face, chest and body". Regardless of the camera mechanics or type used. You can argue that the first time could have been for a purpose other than to entertain the owner. Once it went beyond the first time and for that matter, beyond the second time to "hours of footage" then the intent was blatantly obvious.

Please don't try to lessen the perverted pleasure that the owner got from watching this poor girl as she worked by discussing ridiculous comparisons of FOV/zoom. We know what his intentions were. Had it been a wide FoV as opposed to a zoom to a particular area then I would say it would be difficult to prove and it would have never been discovered. That wasn't the case and I applaud the IT department folks for coming forward and alerting her to what was happening.

As for the $11k that the owner had to pay out? Well it's hardly justification for what the girl has to live with for the REST of her life. The owner will recoup $11k, the girl on the other hand... well lets hope she learns how to and gets on with her life.

Actually I think we're mostly in agreement about the WHEN of the crime as well as the inadequacy of the award, as far as the real case is concerned. Although as far as WHAT makes it a crime exactly, I would want to be sure you would agree that both the detectable action of the zooming as well as the lewd intention of the owner are both necessary conditions to an occurrence of legal harassment in this case.

As for my 'ridiculous' comparisons of FOV/zoom, I might remind you that I only went to such lengths in response to your rather non-specific objection to my original post.

Please don't try to lessen the perverted pleasure that the owner got from watching this poor girl as she worked by discussing ridiculous comparisons of FOV/zoom. We know what his intentions were.

Furthermore, I must insist I was not in anyway trying to 'lessen the owner's perverted pleasure' with my example, but if I have somehow, then by all means 'increase the owner's perverted pleasure' to whatever level you feel is appropriate.

More troubling is your statement of 'We know what his intentions were.', since it seems to suggest that his intentions alone, without discussion of what his actions were, are enough to convict him. To this I take strong exception.

That wasn't the case and I applaud the IT department folks for coming forward and alerting her to what was happening.

Of course it 'wasn't the case', that's the whole point, i.e. that since this new technology, dPTZ is being more widely adopted than ever, what will be the ramifications of that? That's all it was, without a trace of misogyny on my part as I feel you are suggesting.

Although as far as WHAT makes it a crime exactly, I would want to be sure you would agree that both the detectable action of the zooming as well as the lewd intention of the owner are both necessary conditions to an occurrence of legal harassment in this case.

It does not have to be "detectable". Instead, it has to be the action of zooming in as a necessary condition. Just because the person doesn't get caught doesn't mean it's not harassment. If a person zooms in on a person's chest continously but never gets caught, they are still committing a wrong. Whether or not it's detected doesn't come into play here.

Furthermore, I must insist I was not in anyway trying to 'lessen the owner's perverted pleasure' with my example, but if I have somehow, then by all means 'increase the owner's perverted pleasure' to whatever level you feel is appropriate.

I'm an American... women here don't require permission from their male counterparts when making decisions. So please refrain from "granting" me the ability to form or expand on my thoughts.

That's all it was, without a trace of misogyny on my part as I feel you are suggesting.

I wasn't suggesting that at all. Instead, I was suggesting that this was a very poor example to use and thought you very insensitive for trying to pose an arguement regarding the DPTZ.

...thought you very insensitive for trying to pose an arguement regarding the DPTZ. -Emphasis Added

Very Insensitive to whom? You, Ms. Kelley, Women at Large, Humanity?

By asking what the difference would be if the next generation ptz technology were had been used instead of the actual one? Or to brazenly suggest that the zoom might need to be detectable to meet the legal definition of harassment? (Note: I didn't say it wasn't wrong.)

Let me be clear: I was not suggesting some fantastical alternative, just one that's already in use and growing everyday.

I do not believe my conduct to be out of line in this venue, a professional and technical forum.

So please refrain from "granting" me the ability to form or expand on my thoughts.

Done.

My second point, is more philosophical in nature and as you may have suspected, has a controversial undercurrent running thru it, since it implies that if one cannot state when exactly the crime was committed then how can one say that a crime even was committed?

You raise an old philosophical question.

Rukmini, I presume your point is that it would be harder to tell if it was digital. With optical zoom, the actions of the operator are clearly documented (i.e., the guy zooms into a person's chest, the recorded video clearly shows it). With digital, there will likely be no evidence trail.

And while it make proving it more difficult, it does not mean it is less 'harassing'.

Br.... Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Harassment? Where does one start. With a nose over the cubicle X's the lenth of time. Or, via a 'spy'glass from a ship? The apartment across they way?

More the bias behind the perception? Eh.

"What size bra is that? I'll figure it out sometime". That would be the same bra (if at all?) worn all day in the office. 'Exposed' to peers? On the way home, public transit. Ad nausium. The wrong person paid attention?

If one is caught surprised by an earthquake during a news telecast. And the sequence is played over (Tonight show say) and over by the comedic twits? Harassment?

Nothing noted about the continued employment of IT folk that provided the data. AKA Eric Snowden? :-O Or Who was harassing whom?

ONLY $11,000. What's wrong with that picture? Dirty lens?

"therefore could be viewed and zoomed years after the employee stopped working there! And so I ask you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, in such a case, when exactly does the harrasment occur?"

Digitally forever?

Another Cal riddle...

Are you suggesting this was not harassment?

Thanks John. A real puzzler Hmm? :-)

Are you suggesting these thoughts and questions are unreasonable? Way too many TV shows ask similar to draw conclusions that may (or may not be acceptable) to an audience.

Harassment has already been decided and compensation award. I'm offering all things considered. It may have been an abused tool. Not having the whole story there are other aspects that weren't mentioned. Like was the IT harassing the boss by 'providing' the recorded copy?

Would it have been harassment if it was a tattoo on a leg arm (or almost visible somewhere)? I met a new co-worker of my X that had a tattoo peeking out of the Vee of her blouse, shirt, sweater. It was designed to draw attention. What was the tattoo showing? Turned out it was the nib of a parrot So my X told me. :-) Just checking. Eh.

How many times are decisions made based not on all the facts but the how framed by the eloquence of the speaker?

"Bias"? Always in question.

"She just wanted validation they were wrong". Really? Where was that said? See bias (or assumptions) above. More information coming out?

Great to see more thoughts and 'opines'. Life isn't about what one 'group' thinks it is. It is a learning experience.

Why should a surveillance system be used to monitor the personal attributes of any employee? What does that have to do with the security or safety of employees?

You ask, "What size bra is that? I'll figure it out sometime". That would be the same bra (if at all?) worn all day in the office. 'Exposed' to peers? On the way home, public transit. Ad nausium. The wrong person paid attention?"

Here's the difference between being seen on public transit or people on the street: Employees have the right not to be objectified or leered at by their superiors. And using the surveillance system to do such things (like figuring out the bra size of their female subordinates) is clearly wrong and, as the EEOC has shown, harassment.

I've seen an Opera TV Show episode in which they proclaimed that large store security people watch customers undressing in the cabins for trying out new clothes. And supposedly the security agents were having fun and commenting among each other what they were witnessing as far as physical attributes of the subjects.

Similarly, my niece works as a nurse assistant in a hospital and she says that sexual remarks on patients is common practice among hospital workers.

That would seem to be considered as rude and very unprofessional. However it doesn't seem to have the same sexual overtone as it did with the shop owner. Here I think it's a different type of wrong-doing based on what sounds like an entertainment venue to a group of people in the course of their work day.

The difference here is it involves multiple people and does not target one person consistently. I think people that do what you describe should be removed immediately from their position or at minimum disciplined to correct the behavior.

"Here's the difference between being seen on public transit or people on the street: Employees have the right not to be objectified or leered at by their superiors. And using the surveillance system to do such things (like figuring out the bra size of their female subordinates) is clearly wrong and, as the EEOC has shown, harassment."

John, " Only by there superiiors?" Again as opposed to? Leered at? objectivied? Wait, Is that harasment or stalking? Might be the harrasment was chosen because?

"Clearly?" I suppose it is a view easy to support once the arbiteers have decided.

It appears cut and dry by the words presented. Not always the case. Asking questions sometimes begs more questions. Thanks for asking yours.

I never offered a right or wrong. Just giving suppositions. Looking for differences. Seeing the reactions. And a few showed up. :-)

RE: The IT Dept. Acting as local 'cops'? Does two wongs make it white? (poetic license?) Does the ends justify the means.

Cal, I suppose you think it's clever to pretend you are just asking questions but your questions are aligned to undermine the seriousness and obviousness of this being sexual harassment. It's, at least, a puzzling stand to make.

More the bias behind the perception? Eh.

Cal, I find your anti-bias bias interesting, if a bit self-refuting. Maybe you need to be more open-minded about bias... ;)

Do agree on the paucity of the settlement at $11,000, with no lawyers fees and then hit with instant 1099 at the same time as the award. But lets remember who the plaintiff really is in these cases, the EEOC, who notches one up, regardless of the amount of the award, as long as they prevail.

Added cynical note on dPTZ: A local installer lacking both in sales$ and ethics should have no problem selling into Davis a multi-imager dome or three. In addition to the reduced legal threat, an additional argument would be the elimination of PTZ contention between the supervisor and the owner.

I don't think the settlement was paultry. They got a financial penalty for lascivious behavior, not taking nude shots in the bathroom and posting them online (but who knows what may come up in the future). It was probably close to 3 or 4 months of pay. The company is compelled to implement harrasment training. They have to give her a favorable reference. I'm sure and hope her legal fees are covered. I think the punishment fit the crime. But of course that's always subjective.

The fact she didn't get a lawyer and call every news station she could and hire a PR firm, I'm inclined to think it wasn't about the money to her. She just wanted validation they were wrong, get them help in correcting the behavior, and give her enough to live on until she found another job.

I think the punishment fit the crime.

Until it's your daughter or wife... right?

Like I said, it's always subjective. Of course if it were my wife our daughter, a million dollars would not have been enough. That's why you're supposd to have objective people enforcing and interpreting the law. A million dollars would not be justice. That'd be vengence. Vengence has no place in justice.

I don't think the settlement was paultry.

Ok, how about poultry then as in 'chicken feed'? She may not have had any legal fees but the EEOC had 5 lawyers on the case, that eats up about $11,000 a day. It was IMHO, a number arrived at by taking how long out of work she had been and paying her at her former rate.

The defence was estatic no doubt! Ms. Kelley on the other hand had to relenquish her right to litigate the matter further, at least as a Title VII violation. The amount was the absolute bare minimum, with not a dime in there for her counseling, just for the seemingly less progressive Davis employees. But then again making typewriters selling office supplies doesn't usually get you the best and brightest...

@Cal, I respect the fact that you don't always paint inside the lines, but would it be too much to ask you to connect a few more of the dots? :)

Connecting the dots. Good point. Possibly not all the dots are visible yet. :-O

Why is it when discussions ensue. Some choose to only go back as far as it supports their understandings, words, beliefs??? Possibly keeping some dots from becoming known.

John, Consider these more questions and see what stance others may take.

Kinda like the questions posed when comparing companies processes, equipment, in this forum? Looking for some background that may support (or not) the data offered.

When were the camera(s) installed? And at what direction? Did the plan specify? Didn't ANY planners, installers, IT folk recognize the situation? Ergo walk the walk and likely prevent any occurrences that may be damaging? Who else had the control of the camera(s)?

Where is the culpability of the IT department?

Why choose to make a CD of events and provide that to one person? And not the hierarchy of the company. Did they? Seems the focus is on the feelings of one person. As it already has been asked. When did the harassment start. Can I offer when the presumed harassed was notified? As opposed to the chain of command? Couldn't that been stopped before Any harassment was specified?

Was this a botched investigation? Or, No investigation at all.

Can we go back from there. Lets say to the beginning.

Was this ALL planned by the 'looker'? Or just an opportunity assignment by lack recognition by the rest of the hands that put into place?

Could this be considered entrapment. With unsuspecting bait? Both the lookee and looker?

Seems things were thrown into a pot an stirred without considering the resultant color.

Might it been stopped Looonnng before it got to the making of a CD?

Another thought. If an office with a window looked out over an area, cubicle or cubicles. Are the eyes behind the glass automatically guilty of looking at what is out there? Only if a pair of binoculars (camera) were used?

Just my inquisitive nature. Something still seems missing as to how it got to where it did. :-(

Cal, stop it.

If you have real evidence contrary to the findings of the EEOC, feel free to share.

Otherwise, your disguising random speculation as some form of intelligent questions is unhelpful and offensive to other members of the community.

And what about the injustice women have to suffer? I'll leave it at that... I'm sure you get my drift. Oh wait... maybe not.

Though I totally agree that the female employee had the right to be treated better (not as a sexual object). I get that. But, don't forget that we men (at least some of us) have our own load of suffering. Life can be unfair to any of us, not just women.

But, don't forget that we men (at least some of us) have our own load of suffering. Life can be unfair to any of us, not just women.

Ain't it the truth brother?

John, How are these responses not in sync, sequenced according to receipt. My comment and yours was an hour ago and the two following (above this input) shows a day a go. What is controlling that?

"Cal, stop it. If you have real evidence contrary to the findings of the EEOC, feel free to share."

So asking questions that might garner same doesn't qualify?

I guess suggesting that the IT dept. Taking it upon themselves to disseminate company data, is OK? Irregardless of later findings of the EEOC.

If you won't or can't answer the questions. So be it.

"Otherwise, your disguising random speculation as some form of intelligent questions is unhelpful and offensive to other members of the community."

Are you now speaking for everyone else? Implying censorship? Kinda heavy handed. EH?

Maybe there should be a 'First Amendment area'. AKA the BLM rounding up range cows so they don't step on defenseless turtles. Then these questions wouldn't seen and/or presumed offensive to others. :-(

I've speculatd here openly. Have no problem as in my ongoing life the same has triggered susequent value. Have no problem doing so again. No more needs to be said.

Thanks for the opportunity. :-)

Cal, you are blaming the victom with statements questions like "Was this ALL planned by the 'looker'? .... Could this be considered entrapment. With unsuspecting bait? Both the lookee and looker?"

Do you have ANY evidence? One iota of evidence that points to entrapment? Anything?

Of course you have nothing.

And then you wrap yourself in the flag of the First Ammendment. Yes, Cal, you will not go to jail for saying these things. That's the First Ammendment.

But we are not forced to let you pose 'questions' that blame victims on IPVM.

Again, if you have real evidence that supports your 'questions', share it. Otherwise, you are not welcome to post on this thread again.

Thanks John, I understand. Perfectly.

Maybe there should be a 'First Amendment area'

It's not much but we do have this. You can reply there.

The alledgedly evil man has died. His pleasure is now fully lessened. Once before dying Alm told about what he believed happens with his camera equipment and its ptzooming,

In a court filing, Davis Typewriter explained that its security camera was having “programming problems.” The filing said that Alm believed the camera had “malfunctioned and stayed in the position” pointing at Kelley.

The owner/operator lives on and never admitted to it.

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