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If you’re one of the millions who hold down a 9-5 job in today’s corporate business world you owe it to yourself to invest in a portable, wireless hidden camera that you can keep in your pocket or within arm’s reach on your desk. In fact, I’ll go a step farther to say that you’re crazy if you don’t. The American business scene has changed significantly over the past few years, and with the down economy and high unemployment figures jobs are tenuous at best, causing stress levels to rise. The prevailing mood among employees is an uneasiness in knowing that job security is a thing of the past. The mantra in the workplace today is keep low, duck, and avoid at all cost getting caught in the middle when something inevitably gets FUBAR. There’s a reason why you see your manager or supervisor, and even other co-workers walking around warily with their hands clasp tightly behind their backs. It’s called covering their butt. And you should be too.
I bring this subject up because I was asked recently what sort of people buy hidden cameras and secret recording devices, as if there must be some deviant purpose behind anyone wanting such “spy gear.” And, of course, the question was directed at me because I happen to sell such “spy gear” devices. Actually, what we sell is home security and personal protection products, of which hidden cameras is a small part. We are a family owned and operated business dedicated to helping safeguard families like yours. My initial response to the question was to ask if they had ever heard of Nanny Cams? That one type of hidden camera alone has been a source of security and peace of mind to countless thousands of worried parents who must leave their young children in the care of a babysitter or nanny while they’re away at work. Care to look at all the news videos on YouTube where a hidden nanny cam has caught child abuse from people they thought they could trust? There are hundreds.
There are many other reasons for these covert devices. Before going into business for myself, I spent most of my adult life in the corporate world. And the mindset of corporate America hasn’t changed much since my father’s generation, and I dare say even my grandfather’s. One of the most common occurrences in the workplace is theft. It may be as simple as someone walking off with your favorite stapler or losing a personal item you left on your desk, to the cleaning crew coming in and rifling through your desk drawers at night. A miniature hidden camera placed somewhere inconspicuously will show you exactly who the culprit is. You can bet your place of business has security cameras placed strategically in and around your building, why shouldn’t you have the same security at your desk or cubicle?
Another handy device to have is a small portable audio recorder, especially if you have to attend board meetings, staff discussions, or listen to presentations. A 4 gigabit pen recorder will not only let you take notes during the meeting, but will record everything being said for later review. Perfect if you have to type up a summary report later for management. It can also come in handy when there’s finger pointing and accusations on why something was or wasn’t done, and who was responsible for doing or not doing it. Playing back what exactly was said is better than trying to convince the other person to what they thought they said.
Unfortunately, another thing that still goes on in the workplace besides theft, endless meetings and finger pointing is sexual discrimination. I have been witness to it on more than one occasion and it still baffles me the head-in-the-sand attitude companies take when it’s reported to HR. It’s like you have rocked their boat and the onus is on you to prove your claim. Sexual harassment can come from another employee or, worse, your manager. And if that happens, you can bet they’ll circle the wagons around the manager. Very few women win in the end, and most end up looking for another job. You can keep notes of each incident that occurs, or try and get a co-worker to step forward and support your claim, but in the end it will come down to your word against his, and who do you think the company is going to believe? A covert audio and video recording device can capture those incidents cold. Want to stop the stonewalling and further harassment from blowing the whistle? Just drop the evidence recorded on an SD card in the lap of your Civil Rights attorney and watch them drool as they start counting dollar signs for you.
Of course discrimination takes on many forms, not just sexual harassment. The last example I want to mention deals with an incident of age discrimination. A close friend I know had worked in the computer technology field for 30 years, and nearly 20 of those years in the I.T. department of a large Fortune 500 company in the financial industry. During that time he had an exemplary work record and had won several recognition awards. However, four years ago things began to change. The CEO who built the company retired and a new senior management team came in to take over. The corporate atmosphere they once cherished soon changed. It then grew worse when the economy crashed in 2008. Outsourcing increased as did layoffs. Salaries froze, yet more work was expected by fewer employees. Then something was seen that was occurring across I.T. departments all over, starting right in Silicon Valley; a rigorous campaign to recruit tech grads right out of college and bring them in at lower salaries and reduced benefits. Of course to balance the scales it meant there needed to be a reduction at the top end of the scale, which naturally meant the older workers must go.
And if attrition wasn’t removing them fast enough, then perhaps some nudging would. In this particular instance a new manager was brought into the department and immediately targeted the three oldest employees there. Having hardly settled into his new position, and without a single meeting with his new staff, he promptly gave these workers failing marks on their annual review. This meant no bonus, no chance to bid out for a position in another department, and an indeterminable probation period. Objections quickly followed, but this only caused more harassment and written warnings regarding their performance. It wasn’t hard to see where this was all leading and what the intention was behind it. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, he took the allegations that were leveled at him, obtain proof to the contrary through record logs, and went to HR to lodge an age discrimination and harassment complaint. He did this as a last resort, knowing he was only digging his grave further. HR is not the A.C.L.U. They are there to protect the company first and foremost. The butt they’re concern about protecting is management’s; not yours. While HR said they would look into the charges, the harassment and calls to the office continued. But now he was hearing other kinds of comments being said as well. A slip of the tongue here and there. He then realized he needed something more than just his word, or the supporting words of a co-worker. He needed positive proof that he was slowly being pushed out the door because of his age. What he purchased was an audio/video pen camera.
A regular ball point pen, but with a 2GB internal hard drive that he could turn on and off without notice. Placing it in his shirt pocket, it looked perfectly ordinary. The next time he was called into his manager’s office a week later he clicked it on. This time, however, during a 15-minute dressing down on why his performance level was below expectations, he was able to record an innocuous comment about his age and inability to grasp the new technology becoming available, and how his performance wasn’t up to those of younger techs. All of it untrue, but now he walked out knowing that he suddenly had the upper hand. Presenting his situation to an attorney a couple days later, he described what was taking place in his department, recited his conversations with HR, provided copies of written warnings he’d received, along with his documentation showing the allegations his manager had alleged in his performance reports were false, and then handled over the hidden pen camera. Plugging the thumb drive into his USB port on the PC, they watched and listened to the video of the last meeting unfold. When he saw his attorney smile, he knew he had covered all his bases. The comments that were made, however innocent sounding at the time, were in direct violation of U.S. Discrimination Laws. The ball was now in his court.
Still wishing to resolve the matter internally and maybe be allowed to move to a different department, he let HR complete their investigation into the matter. When he was then summons to a final meeting with them, he could detect what the outcome was going to be before he sat down. HR was going to circle the wagons around the manager, even though they had to concede some of his manager’s allegations against him were wrong. Basically, it was all going to be swept under the rug and my friend’s employment was to be terminated immediately. Although not entirely unexpected, he was still stunned. After nearly 20 years of service, which included nights, weekends and holidays, that helped build the company to the top position it holds today, and just a few years short of retirement, he was left unemployed, no medical insurance, a 401K that had declined dramatically, and a mortgage that was underwater. He promptly filed age discrimination charges with the EEOC, and after several months of waiting for the company to respond and the investigation to conclude, the EEOC was able to affirm the charge. A wrongful termination suit was then filed in court, but shortly before the trial date lawyers for the company approached to seek a settlement. With the video evidence and an affirmation by the EEOC, the company didn’t need the bad publicity on top the fact they were more than likely to come out on the short end of things. A settlement of $1.5 million with all attorney fees paid was suggested and eventually agreed to.
Had it not been for the hidden pen camera that he decided to buy and wear the outcome, and indeed the rest of his future, would have likely turned out far different. People buy spy recording devices for many reasons, the least of which is to spy on someone else for the sake of spying. Rather, they’re bought to serve a specific purpose, which is to provide a measure of security. Hidden digital pen cameras are one of our biggest selling items. Stylish, multi-functional, easily portable, they are the essence of covert audio and video recording. Likewise, another stylish item that is gaining popularity is spy watches. These are high quality wrist watches in both dress and sport models that come with the same standard features found on comparable jewelry store watches, but with a built-in DVR. Unless you know where to look, it’s nearly impossible to tell where the tiny lens opening is at first glance. The third most popular hidden camera that you can carry on your person, and one of the oldest, is the hidden button camera. These are regular buttons, as those found on your shirt or coat, but with a tiny micro lens. Button cameras come wired or wireless, and most come with an assortment of button colors and sizes. Today, inexpensive hidden spy cameras can be found in almost anything, from digital alarm clocks to mini clocks you can hold in the palm of your hand. Also to be found in the spy cam genre are Coke cans, desk calculators, Bic lighters, eyeglasses, mini flashlights, neck ties, ball caps, keychains, belt buckles, cell phones, even Happy Face buttons you can pin on your shirt. All which can record directly onto an internal DVR or SD card. If you prefer, you can even create your own. A pinhole camera, or board camera, is about the size of a computer chip. Conceal one inside a leafy green plant at your cubicle and have 24 hour surveillance continually.
Whichever miniature spy cam or spy voice recorder appeals to you, please think seriously of buying one and keeping it with you at work, or wherever you go. You just never know what kind of situation you’re going to run into day to day, and you always want to be prepared. The last thing you want to find yourself saying is, “Darn, if only I had something to record what just happened…”Write by phanmemgoc