116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY - University of Iowa officials are investigating complaints by employees of a UI medical clinic that their manager used a baby monitor to listen to their conversations.
Several employees at the urology clinic, in the Carver Pavilion at UI Hospitals and Clinics, said they discovered the baby monitor Monday morning on a shelf in the front desk area. They say the baby monitor was on and was being used by their manager to monitor their conservations.
They complained via e-mail Monday to AFSCME Local 12 and the UI office of the ombudsman, according to John Stellmach, AFSCME Local 12 president. Stellmach called the union's attorney in Des Moines, who advised the workers to call the UI Police to investigate, Stellmach said.
Information from UI Police was not available Tuesday, but Tysen Kendig, UI vice president for strategic communications, said officials are looking into the incident.
“We're aware of the personnel allegations that have been made, human resources has been made aware and we're investigating the complaint,” Kendig said. “At this time, we can't discuss any more than that.”
Stellmach, the union president, said apparently a floating employee in the urology clinic told the manager the front desk clerks and secretaries were talking too much. Stellmach says the manager, with the approval of the manager's human resources supervisor, brought in the baby monitor to see how much the workers were talking.
The employees took pictures of the monitor, with its green light on, when they found it to show it was working, he said. They confronted the manager and the monitor was later removed, Stellmach said.
The employees are concerned about the violation to their privacy, as well as potential violations of patient privacy laws, Stellmach said.
“This was in an area where they check patients in and out where confidential patient information is discussed,” he said. “This was such an egregious thing, we decided we had to make sure people knew what was going on.”
The employees in the front desk area when the monitor was found included three clerks, two secretaries and a student worker, Stellmach said. The clerks and secretaries are represented by AFSCME Local 12.