IOWA CITY, IowaThe University of Iowa launched an investigation Tuesday after employees at a medical clinic complained their supervisors used a hidden baby monitor to eavesdrop and determine whether they were talking too much.
Department of Urology workers discovered the monitor hidden on a shelf in a secretarial work area Monday, and one complained to the university's ombudsperson and her union that they considered the monitoring without their knowledge a privacy violation, said AFSCME Local 12 President John Stellmach. An employee took photos showing the monitor turned on sitting next to a package of cotton balls.
The monitor picked up chatter by several secretaries and clerical workers, and the receiver was placed in a supervisor's office, said Stellmach, whose union represents 5,000 university employees. After it was discovered, a supervisor first played it off as a joke and then explained it was set up after another worker complained they were chatting too much and would be in place for a week, Stellmach said. But after employees complained, the monitor was removed later Monday. It was not clear how long it was in place.