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Investigating Employee Conduct.

Investigating Employee Conduct

Author: William E. Hartsfield

Publisher: Callaghan & Company, Deerfield, IL, 1988; approximately 400 pages, hardcover: $85

Reviewer: Harvey E. Morse, President, Morse and Morse, Winter Park, FL; Member of the ASIS Standing Committee on Investigations

Investigating Employee Conduct by William E. Hartsfield is a fairly technical text designed by an attorney well versed in employee relations and the law. The work is presented in a very clear, logical fashion with headings, subheadings, and voluminous references similar to a lengthy legal brief.

Hartsfield covers in depth virtually all aspects of what an employer may or may not do in regard to an employee. He supports his interpretations and contentions by noting appropriate legal citations such as specific laws, statutes, and case references.

In reviewing this book, it is abundantly clear Investigating Employee Conduct should be on the shelf of every attorney who deals in employer-employee relations. It might even become the standard by which similar books and the subject itself are judged. However, the book is written for individuals with legal training--for those who understand certain legal concepts, phrases, terminology, and basic law--rather than the usual director of security.

That is not to say a security director cannot comprehend the contents or use the references to research specific questions. I believe, however, the text would best be used by an attorney who is assisting a company's director of security to develop the company's corporate security plans and policies.

For example, such topics as freedom of religion and speech are thoroughly covered. But in all practicality, the text is too technical for those engaged in day-to-day security issues unless that individual is also well versed in the law.

Hartsfield comprehensively discusses other issues such as searches; medical examinations; interviews; polygraphs; surveillance; rehabilitation and discharge; federal, state, and common law rights; and so forth. Each of these topics are covered in relationship to finite legal requirements and are not meant for hands-on use by the security practitioner except as they affect the law and rights of an individual. In that event, intervention of the corporate attorney is required if not mandatory.

To use the wealth of information contained in this book effectively, it should first be read by corporate counsel and then scanned by the director of security. He or she would then ask counsel for answers to specific questions to establish policies and procedures. With the help of this book, counsel would be able to advise the director who in turn would put the answer in plain and simple terms for the executive security staff.

Hartsfield also devotes much space to the use of legal forms. Again, it is my opinion that these should not be left to the discretion of the security department to institute at will. They should first be reviewed by the legal staff.

This work was never intended to be used by the security department in an autonomous fashion. I believe it was intended for the primary benefit of corporate attorneys who, as a result of actions or inactions of employers, must deal with these type of problems.

The book is extremely well written, meticulous, and comprehensive and would be a welcome addition to any resource library to assist a company in defending or preventing litigation. It should, however, not be titled Investigating Employee Conduct, which infers it is a how-to book for investigators.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Morse, Harvey E.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 1989
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