Too far? Law firm tracks staff through fingerprints

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How do you know if and when your staff are working? Can you track their breaks? It’s a common concern, especially for office managers who may not be able to see workers coming and going.

Starting this month McCague Borlack LLP will require all staff except lawyers to clock in and out of the office with a finger swipe, tracking arrival and departure times. The firm’s lawyers spend most of their day with clients so were not required to use the new system.

“Some people were abusing the system,” said founding partner Howard Borlack, 58. “We had people taking two to three hours for lunch and we had no way of knowing. . . . Some people were complaining.”

While the technology was primarily introduced as a security measure, the ability to track people’s movement in and out of the office was a “huge bonus” for the company.

“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,” Borlack said.

However, not everyone is impressed. A group claiming to be secretaries at the firm have established a website called “Finger Campaign” accusing McCague Borlack of singling out administrative staff.

They claim the programme is not security related, and that the firm could rely on swipe cards or signatures to ensure staff were honest about their time. With

“Only the secretaries and copy-room staff must bear this indignity…[which] does not seek to address any security concerns at all,” a release on the site reads. “It has had a very chilling effect on the secretaries’ psyche.”

Borlack said while he knew it would be uncomfortable for some employees, the fingerprint technology would not violate privacy issues and he reiterated that security was his primary goal.


  • Carol Itosan on 2012-11-29 7:50:40 PM

    Is it not funny how Borlack stated at the meeting on Oct. 2nd that the the fingerprinting program is not about security at all. He then changed his position directly to the Toroto STAR without any prior indication whatsoever. He miscalculated, and we shall now form a union and challenge him for constructive discrimination at the Human Rights Tribunal. Borlack's licence to practise law is in jeoperdy, and he is getting increasingly jittery--because he knows he is in trouble.

  • Lisa Smith on 2012-12-04 8:16:38 PM

    The unfortunate point about Borlack's fingerprinting program is that the media has never scrutinized Borlack's newfound "security theme". This fingerprinting program cannot be about security.

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