Sears? More like See-ers!
The department store chain is facing a lawsuit based on accusations that it was negligent in dealing with maintenance worker Alejandro Gamiz, who allegedly set up at least 20 hidden cameras in dressing rooms at a North Hollywood location, CBS Los Angeles reports. Why would Sears be at fault? Because up to four months may have passed before management told police they had found the cameras, according to KNBC.
All together, 25 plaintiffs, including customers and employees, have accused Sears of “negligent hiring, supervision and retention of Gamiz as an employee of Sears, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and hostile work environment harassment and retaliation" against employees who reported Gamiz, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Gamiz was first accused in April, then charged a month later with over 60 counts related to voyeurism. If convicted, he could face six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each count, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Sears denies the allegations and says that it launched an investigation immediately after finding out about the camera.
Employees setting up hidden cameras in bathrooms and dressing rooms is hardly a rarity. A theater worker in Washington state was arrested in March for filming actors and customers with a hidden cam in a dressing room bathroom, KIRO 7 News reports. A CVS pharmacy intern and a Providence, Rhode Island, coffee shop employee got in trouble on separate occasions this year for pulling similarly pervy stunts.
Some companies have even been charged for installing voyeuristic cameras themselves. Last year, reports emerged that management at Florida locations of Macy's and Dillard's had allegedly installed dressing room doors upside down to gain a better view and prevent theft. Walmart was also sued by employees for setting up a camera in an employee dressing room as part of its loss-prevention department at a Pennsylvania location in 2009.
It's not just corporate America either. In 2009, two FBI workers were charged with using surveillance equipment to spy on teenage girls trying on prom dresses in a mall changing room.