Marc Gander - The Consumer Survival Handbook


A 220 page introduction to all things consumer related by our own BankFodder.

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Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


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  1. #1
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    Default Fingerprinting at work

    Hi guys, i thought I had already started a thread about this, but i can't find it.

    At my wife's work, a few months ago they introduced fingerprinting to book on and off.
    They point blank refused to say why, where the data will be stored, who would access it etc.
    We contacted the ICOicon and they said that before collecting any personal dataicon, including fingerprints, any company must disclose why where what and who...

    My wife wrote a letter to head office asking these questions because in the past employees' data has been leaked to third parties and this is documented.
    The head office did not reply, but instead they contacted my wife's manager and told him to answer these questions.
    The manager refused because he didn't know the answers and he was not the data controller.
    They insisted with the manager not to commit to anything in writing.

    He bounced back the questions to head office because he didn't want to take any responsibility knowing how badly this company is run.
    They never replied, so the manager let my wife and a few other colleagues continue booking on and off in the old fashion way, signing the log book.

    Fast forward 6 months and this manager decided to leave.
    His position has not been filled for a couple of months now and supervisors are acting as managers on a rotation.

    A couple of days ago they received an email from a director threatening not to be paid unless they start using the fingerprint machine immediately.
    we forwarded the same questions again to the area manager because in the mean time human resources sent an email to my wife barring her from contacting their office (??? Yes, i know, it was one of them moments) but to contact her site manager.

    I have spoken to my union (she left her union when a corruption deal was unfolded a few years ago) and they said that unless they answer those statutory questions my wife is not obliged to use the fingerprint machine and if they insist to report to ICO.
    Also they confirmed that not paying someone after they've worked their hours is a breach of contract.

    My prediction came through when this company started cutting half hour to anyone booking on 1 minute late and not paying at all people who forgot to book on or off despite having worked their hours.

    What do you think?
    Should she stand her ground (along with other 2 colleagues up to a fight) or give in to avoid not being paid?
    I suggested to stand her ground (surprise surprise) because they are not following the law,
    but she wants a bit of peace at work after being targeted for the past 8 years.

    I explained to her that the only reason she's still employed is because she fought these fools and as soon as she shows a sign of weakness they'll take advantage of it.

    Background story: They were employed by the council who then outsourced these sites.
    The contractor sneakily made all employees sign a new contract of employment cutting their wage in half with support from the union.

    My wife and other few colleagues read what they were about to sign and refused, so they remained on same T&C and wages as before.
    This of course has peed off the directors who are forced to pay a few people a living wage rather than minimum.
    Just imagine that my wife's site manager earns more or less same money as her pro rata (she's part time).

    they've been trying to get rid of these few by making "mistakes" in payslips, annual leave, overtime, tax, national insurance contributions, continuous roster changes that don't make any sense (they always return to original roster) etc.

    Now that you know the facts, please i would like your views so i can let my wife read them and then she can make up her own mind.
    Thank you.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fingerprinting at work

    I am normally supportive of employee rights and doing everything within the letter of the law e.g Data Protection, but sometimes complaining about such issues is a futile exercise. The company should already have a Data Protection policy written into their employee procedures/contracts. It might not mention 'fingerprinting' specifically, but there is probably generic clauses in regard to helping with security and updating processes to ensure security is continually protected.

    If the company wants to use fingerprinting as part of their processes for employee signing in and out, then i cannot see a problem with this. The company are responsible for safeguarding data of employees and if they fail to do this, then there are protections under the DPA.

    Every day, you provide your fingerprints on everything you touch. Some computers/phones now have fingerprint scanning to enable them to be used. The company should update their documents to confirm use of fingerprint technology and how this data will be used, how it will be stored etc. By not doing so, they are leaving themselves open to problems. If for example a crime took place, they could hardly supply Police with the fingerprint records, as the data has not be held in compliance with DPA.


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    Quote Originally Posted by king12345 View Post


    I have spoken to my union (she left her union when a corruption deal was unfolded a few years ago)
    ..........
    but she wants a bit of peace at work after being targeted for the past 8 years.
    .......
    So they've been trying to get rid of these few by making "mistakes" in payslips, annual leave, overtime, tax, national insurance contributions, continuous roster changes that don't make any sense (they always return to original roster) etc.
    Blimey, targeted for 8 years, and ongoing “mistakes”.
    You seem to have found a union you are content with (didn’t you also have trouble with a union previously??) : would it have been inappropriate for her to have joined yours? (Were the trades incompatible?)

    Even if she couldn’t have joined your union, has she not had 2+ years to find one more to her liking?

    Even if there wasn’t this issue : it sounds like she needs to be in a union,


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    Default Re: Fingerprinting at work

    The system set down in policy to log ones hours is to record the fingerprint swipe. That is the employers policy. Any signing in system, however it is kept, is part of ones duties and is the record of attendance at your place of employment. If you do not adhere to the signing in system, then you are not present in work, and do not have any entitlement to pay unless you are otherwise logged (i.e. on holidayicon, sick, etc.). If she wishes to be paid as having been at work, then she must abide by the employers policies.

    Regardless of the signing in method, it is fairly common for employers to have accounting periods - i.e. if someone is late for work then they do not get paid until the next "accounting period", which may be 15 or 30 minutes later. I cannot currently recall the case (I read it a long time ago and haven't needed it), but there is case law on this matter, and I believe that 30 minutes is the maximum permitted time to use as a sanction for lateness. If anyone else can recall the case, all I can recall now is that the employer in question was deducting an hour for any lateness, and the finding was that it is reasonable for an employer to "round" the deduction because accounting for everyone in exact minutes involved too great a burden on the payroll function, but that up to 30 (I think) minutes was reasonable. In other words, one second late and up 30 minutes deduction is ok, but more is not.

    As stated previously, I would imagine that any existing data policy would cover any form of data kept. The answer to why it is needed is because this is the signing in process, and without it one will not be paid. Assuming that they have such a policy, then I would also assume that they are, in fact, following the law - the requirement to provide information about data storage does not mean that they must provide that information repeatedly for every single bit of data they hold. One policy is sufficient.

    If everyone were to refuse to provide data on the basis that it might one day be lost or subject to a data breach, then nobody would use provide any data to anyone in any form. Even this site holds personal dataicon about posters, and there is absolutely no reason why that data could not be hacked at some point - so perhaps people should not sign up?

    As a general observation, even where an employer is not the best employer possible, making a battle out of everything is counterproductive and more damaging to the individuals participating in it than to the employer. It is stressful to always be battling, and the more one does so, the less value your comments have - everyone, including, often, ones colleagues, gets to appoint where they respond with "Oh, it's just Mrs X again...". Picking your battles and fighting those that are worthwhile is far more productive. Picking a battle which puts her in breach of contract, by not signing in by the required method, and which then leaves her employer actually entitled to respond by saying they won't pay anyone not signed in, is a foolish battle to pick. It is up to the employer to decide the method of signing in, not the employee. She is going to lose this battle if the employer won't budge - what is the purpose of her going to work and not getting paid for the work?

    If this employer is so bad, and has been for 8 years, one wonders why she hasn't sought employment with a better employer. Whatever it is she does, they are surely not the only employer in the area? As I said, constantly battling is stressful and tiring, and I wouldn't think it would be worth it to stay with so poor an employer.


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    Default Re: Fingerprinting at work

    thread trimmed back to post 4 today for obv reasons


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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fingerprinting at work

    Thanks dx


  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BazzaS View Post
    Blimey, targeted for 8 years, and ongoing “mistakes”.
    You seem to have found a union you are content with (didn’t you also have trouble with a union previously??) : would it have been inappropriate for her to have joined yours? (Were the trades incompatible?)

    Even if she couldn’t have joined your union, has she not had 2+ years to find one more to her liking?

    Even if there wasn’t this issue : it sounds like she needs to be in a union,
    Only one union at her place and as you guessed mine is in a different industry


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sangie595 View Post
    The system set down in policy to log ones hours is to record the fingerprint swipe. That is the employers policy. Any signing in system, however it is kept, is part of ones duties and is the record of attendance at your place of employment. If you do not adhere to the signing in system, then you are not present in work, and do not have any entitlement to pay unless you are otherwise logged (i.e. on holidayicon, sick, etc.). If she wishes to be paid as having been at work, then she must abide by the employers policies.

    Regardless of the signing in method, it is fairly common for employers to have accounting periods - i.e. if someone is late for work then they do not get paid until the next "accounting period", which may be 15 or 30 minutes later. I cannot currently recall the case (I read it a long time ago and haven't needed it), but there is case law on this matter, and I believe that 30 minutes is the maximum permitted time to use as a sanction for lateness. If anyone else can recall the case, all I can recall now is that the employer in question was deducting an hour for any lateness, and the finding was that it is reasonable for an employer to "round" the deduction because accounting for everyone in exact minutes involved too great a burden on the payroll function, but that up to 30 (I think) minutes was reasonable. In other words, one second late and up 30 minutes deduction is ok, but more is not.

    As stated previously, I would imagine that any existing data policy would cover any form of data kept. The answer to why it is needed is because this is the signing in process, and without it one will not be paid. Assuming that they have such a policy, then I would also assume that they are, in fact, following the law - the requirement to provide information about data storage does not mean that they must provide that information repeatedly for every single bit of data they hold. One policy is sufficient.

    If everyone were to refuse to provide data on the basis that it might one day be lost or subject to a data breach, then nobody would use provide any data to anyone in any form. Even this site holds personal dataicon about posters, and there is absolutely no reason why that data could not be hacked at some point - so perhaps people should not sign up?

    As a general observation, even where an employer is not the best employer possible, making a battle out of everything is counterproductive and more damaging to the individuals participating in it than to the employer. It is stressful to always be battling, and the more one does so, the less value your comments have - everyone, including, often, ones colleagues, gets to appoint where they respond with "Oh, it's just Mrs X again...". Picking your battles and fighting those that are worthwhile is far more productive. Picking a battle which puts her in breach of contract, by not signing in by the required method, and which then leaves her employer actually entitled to respond by saying they won't pay anyone not signed in, is a foolish battle to pick. It is up to the employer to decide the method of signing in, not the employee. She is going to lose this battle if the employer won't budge - what is the purpose of her going to work and not getting paid for the work?

    If this employer is so bad, and has been for 8 years, one wonders why she hasn't sought employment with a better employer. Whatever it is she does, they are surely not the only employer in the area? As I said, constantly battling is stressful and tiring, and I wouldn't think it would be worth it to stay with so poor an employer.
    The point is that there was no answer when she asked about their privacy policy.
    It was on ICOicon suggestion that they should have said why and who was going to access this data.
    Up to now if they were 1 minute late it wouldn't matter because they often make up the time without asking for overtime.
    So her fear is not only that they could use the fingerprints in the fast moving digital world in the very near future, but that they would use this system to book them deliberately late by altering the timing.
    How would they prove that they weren't late a month before?
    She hasn't looked for another job because being on an old contract she earns a lot more than the average in the same industry at the moment, that's what her company doesn't like.
    The few left from the hey days of good money and t&c are constantly bothered with "mistakes" that strangely happen very often and are very slow to resolve.
    To get the same money she should be a manager level 2 with all responsibility attached to it, but she couldn't anyway because she works p/t.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Fingerprinting at work

    I think your wife needs to think about how she can work with the new system and accept it. Never a good idea to turn up to work at the exact minute you are due to start. Most people arrive earlier than the start time anyway.

    It is a bit like someone working in a factory not accepting a new way of working, because it is not the way it used to be. A new employee would accept it without questioning their line manager, providing there was not a safety issue. Some existing staff set in their ways about how they normally do things might put up barriers, trying to avoid change.

    The employer has told your wife the finger print scanning is to register the signing in process at the start of shift. This is no different to someone signing a register and entering a start time with a CCTV camera in an office recording staff comings/goings. Or someone in an office having to log onto a phone system or computer system to record their start time.

    It might be that the employer thinks that other staff are signing in their colleagues, so nobody is ever late. Or the time entered on a manual register is not the accurate time they turned up for work. With a fingerprint or other system where each employee has to sign in, then it stops possible abuses.

    Your wife because of length of service is receiving a better hourly rate than colleages who might be performing the same job. This surely must justify trying not to provoke the employer in finding issues to dismiss your wife. You have to think whether actions would seem reasonable if this ever ended up at an employment tribunal.

    I think it would be sensible for your wife to keep a full record of her employment conduct and to note any issues, so she can refer back to it later if needed. If there are issues with the employer cutting corners in their provision of services, then the employer should have company guidelines about reporting any risks. Make sure all colleagues report everything keeping copies for their own records. So they can't be accused later of not reporting something.


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    Quote Originally Posted by king12345 View Post
    Only one union at her place and as you guessed mine is in a different industry
    I am surprised that you are not aware that union recognition and union membership are two different things. She may join any union appropriate to her role or any general union. Given that at least some of us now know what your wife does, I can think off several unions of the top of my head that have members in this line of work.


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    Quote Originally Posted by unclebulgaria67 View Post
    I think your wife needs to think about how she can work with the new system and accept it. Never a good idea to turn up to work at the exact minute you are due to start. Most people arrive earlier than the start time anyway.

    It is a bit like someone working in a factory not accepting a new way of working, because it is not the way it used to be. A new employee would accept it without questioning their line manager, providing there was not a safety issue. Some existing staff set in their ways about how they normally do things might put up barriers, trying to avoid change.

    The employer has told your wife the finger print scanning is to register the signing in process at the start of shift. This is no different to someone signing a register and entering a start time with a CCTV camera in an office recording staff comings/goings. Or someone in an office having to log onto a phone system or computer system to record their start time.

    It might be that the employer thinks that other staff are signing in their colleagues, so nobody is ever late. Or the time entered on a manual register is not the accurate time they turned up for work. With a fingerprint or other system where each employee has to sign in, then it stops possible abuses.

    Your wife because of length of service is receiving a better hourly rate than colleages who might be performing the same job. This surely must justify trying not to provoke the employer in finding issues to dismiss your wife. You have to think whether actions would seem reasonable if this ever ended up at an employment tribunal.

    I think it would be sensible for your wife to keep a full record of her employment conduct and to note any issues, so she can refer back to it later if needed. If there are issues with the employer cutting corners in their provision of services, then the employer should have company guidelines about reporting any risks. Make sure all colleagues report everything keeping copies for their own records. So they can't be accused later of not reporting something.
    She's taken this advice on board, thanks.
    After reporting risks, breaches and near misses she's been labelled a troublemaker and wanted to stop reporting.
    I convinced her otherwise and they're not happy about having someone recording serious faults.
    But if she didn't and someone got hurt, they would point the finger at her for not reporting; happened to other colleagues.
    It's a catch 22 situation


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    Quote Originally Posted by Sangie595 View Post
    I am surprised that you are not aware that union recognition and union membership are two different things. She may join any union appropriate to her role or any general union. Given that at least some of us now know what your wife does, I can think off several unions of the top of my head that have members in this line of work.
    Yes, but if you don't have any rep in house, it's a pain as you probably know.
    Also she would be the only one using a different union and , despite being perfectly ok, the employer would just laugh at any rep showing up to represent her because they won't have much support.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Fingerprinting at work

    Quote Originally Posted by king12345 View Post
    She's taken this advice on board, thanks.
    After reporting risks, breaches and near misses she's been labelled a troublemaker and wanted to stop reporting.
    I convinced her otherwise and they're not happy about having someone recording serious faults.
    But if she didn't and someone got hurt, they would point the finger at her for not reporting; happened to other colleagues.
    It's a catch 22 situation
    Not really. It depends on how she and her colleagues go about it. Perhaps prior to any staff meeting, encourage the issue of faults/risks to be raised and make sure the meeting records a reminder of staff having to comply with company guidelines on reporting issues.

    I would suggest any risk issue is reported in this way........ In accordance with company policy stated in x employee handbook, i need to report the following. Date/time. What the issue was, what action was taken to report it or resolve it. There should be a standard reporting document to capture all information.

    These concerns can be turned into positive reinforcement of what the company says they should be doing.


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    Quote Originally Posted by unclebulgaria67 View Post
    Not really. It depends on how she and her colleagues go about it. Perhaps prior to any staff meeting, encourage the issue of faults/risks to be raised and make sure the meeting records a reminder of staff having to comply with company guidelines on reporting issues.

    I would suggest any risk issue is reported in this way........ In accordance with company policy stated in x employee handbook, i need to report the following. Date/time. What the issue was, what action was taken to report it or resolve it. There should be a standard reporting document to capture all information.

    These concerns can be turned into positive reinforcement of what the company says they should be doing.
    There's a specific page in the logbook titled "fault reporting" and there is where staff on duty should write any issue.
    The managers on duty are supposed to read the logbook and sign it twice a day, so they know what's going on, but they've stated several times that they don't want to see anything not urgent in there.
    And their standard of urgent is very high, unless it's an evacuation issue they don't want to know.
    Many staff have stopped reporting because they were told not to cause trouble and on occasions sackedicon or moved for not reporting.
    As said, if they do the right thing they get told off by the managers (not in writing of course) if they don't they risk their job.
    I prefer when everything is documented at cost of being labelled a troublemaker.


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    Quote Originally Posted by king12345 View Post
    .
    As said, if they do the right thing they get told off by the managers (not in writing of course) if they don't they risk their job.
    I prefer when everything is documented at cost of being labelled a troublemaker.
    I think i would remind the managers that their only protection is following companies guidelines on reporting. The whole point of a reporting system is to cover backsides, if something were to happen. It protects all staff and the company. The guidelines will probably have been drafted with some legal help or experience of health and safety law etc.

    If something is reported on the wrong form, then it is up to the managers working within company guidelines to deal with the issue, staff training. Document the issue.


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    Default Re: Fingerprinting at work

    We use the same system in our hotels.

    It does not store whirls, but takes measure ments of width length etc.

    Having said that, if it prevents fraud then any system is better than pen and paper. The flip side is it also accurately records time worked for the employee.

    If you are loosing half an hour for being a minute late, and on minimum wage \ living wage, this is illegal. If the company is doing great this routinely as a procedure report them to HMRC minimum wage investigation team. They will take action and ensure the payment of lost wages is made and fine the company and publicly shame them.

    If you do not sign out for breaks you must be paid them. You cannot have a uniform fee, locker deposit or any deduction that brings the time you worked and pay below the NLW.

    By signing out I mean you can leave the site of work and do your own thing. You cannot be asked to just take a look at this.

    I believe you have nothing to fear from the technology. Embrace it. And use it to your advantage.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Fingerprinting at work

    I'm not too convinced that these machines do not take a full print.
    They don't work if you use your knuckles instead of finger, so i suppose the machine looks for a swirl pattern, just guessing we'll never know.
    I'm not against technology, but I'm against technology being used to screw employees, i.e. Cut half hour wage for a minute lateness.
    I worked in salaried positions for many years and lateness was dealt as a disciplinary issue, nobody ever got their pay cut because they were late, even persistent offenders.


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    Default Re: Fingerprinting at work

    the old clocking on machines served the same function and you usually lost a quarter of an hour for being a minute late. However these were open to misuse, especially after a lunch break where a person would clock back in for their entire group so I can see theuse of a system to make people accountable for their timekeeping as individuals but there are other ways that are slightly less personal and probably cheaper such as a RFID chip in a fob that is waved at a machine as you enter. Yes, these are transferrable but they also can be used for visitor entry to a building etc where the fingerprint door access wouldnt be that flexible.
    I think that someone has sold them the idea that this fingerprint technology is super smart, high tech etc and not knowing any better have bought it for some stupid amount compared to the more humdrum versions of the same. However, as this is now done they will continue to throw management control at the problem rather than admit that this wont solve many problems and will get up people's noses


  19. #19
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    Cagger since : May 2007
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    Default Re: Fingerprinting at work

    My wife's fear is that in the very near future, with technology running fast, we would use fingerprints to manage banking etc.
    Knowing the shabby ways of her company, she doesn't feel that her personal details and fingerprints are protected, especially because they refuse to say where they'll store these and who's responsible for their security.
    Looks like if something went wrong they'll hide behind the corporate veil.


  20. #20
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    Cagger since : Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Fingerprinting at work

    There is a lot of truth to this, I wont have a smart meter or do online banking as there is no paper trail. To mess about with my gas meter someone has to get into the house and disassemble the meter itself, not send a message over the airwaves to reset it to someone else's advantage or just for the hell of it.
    However, that doesnt stop her employer utilising the technology in the way they are wanting to so best bet is to get everyone to force the company to spend time dealing with Data Protection issues surronding it by all making a grievanceicon regarding the data protection principles if they cant properly assure people thatthe information will be used purely for the tasks identified and the data is kept securely etc, it is relevant and not burdensome. Now, I dont know how many people this will affect but if it was a large number I would be getting them all to slap in a DPA SARicon on the same day (along with their tenners) and report them to the ICOicon if they failed to comply, which when swamped by such requests they certainly will.
    The union who has negotiaiting rights will act in her interests under the Bridlington agreement so not being in the same union wont remove that protection membership offers.
    This suggestion should not be carried out lightly because I see it as a last resort rather than a first step and also it is very difficult to get people to act as a cohesive unit even when it is damned obvious that to ignore or behave differently damages their futures as well as the attempt at solidarity to make the employer think about this again.



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