The National Post
Friday, March 19, 1999

CN accused of spying on workers

by Peter Fitzpatrick

Claiming they were filmed naked and then taunted by their employer, 19 engineers are suing a division of Canadian National Railway Co.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers filed the suit against the Grand Trunk Western Railroad in Oakland County, Mich., yesterday .

It arose after the engineers said they found a miniature camera hidden in an Exit sign in a locker room in Pontiac, Mich. It focused through a small hole drilled in the sign's face plate.

"Despite repeated requests . . . in January and February, GTW never provided satisfactory answers", the union said in a statement.

"Adding insult to injury, a GTW trainmaster bragged he viewed tapes of naked engineers."

Christine Skjerven, spokeswoman for Troy, Mich.-based GTW could not comment late yesterday afternoon because she had not seen the filing.

This is not the first time CN has been accused of invading workers' privacy. Last year, the Canadian Auto Workers union complained CN was reading its members' e-mail, although it was a company e-mail system.

The engineers are charging GTW with invasion of privacy and violation of the Michigan Eavesdropping Act and Michigan Employee Right to Know Act.

Apart from asking for the surveillance to be stopped, the suit also seeks unspecified compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages.

Copyright © 1999 by The National Post. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.