According to the Daily Mail,

Sports Direct bosses asked warehouse staff to press 'happy' or 'sad' emoji buttons to say how they felt about their working conditions - before using fingerprint recognition to ID unhappy workers, according to a trade union.

Is this really being done?

Can it be done? I imagine that it would require a camera behind the emjois, to capture images of fingers which press them. Even so, how would they link those to employees?

  • 1
    Apologies, I mistakenly named JD sports in the original title, instead of Sports Direct. They are both "pile 'em high" store in the UK, which sell "sports wear" which is rarely worn when engaging in sports (JS Sports has had some problems with "zero hour contract" employees which might be worth Googling) – Mawg says reinstate Monica Sep 2 '17 at 21:09

The source for this is Unite the Union:

Unite understands that finger recognition technology is being used, with workers asked to touch a happy or sad emoji as they clock in to indicate whether they feel they are treated with respect.

According to Unite, workers selecting the sad face are asked if they are sure. If they are, pressing the sad emoji again results in the worker being called in by management to discuss why they pressed it.

The Guardian also has an article about this. It also contains a statement by Sports Direct which doesn't deny the existence of this system, but does say that Unite misrepresents their intent.

The Daily Mail article may be a bit unclear. Workers seem to have known that they could be identified when pressing the button (see the Unite press release).

According to Unite, the reason for this system was not to secretly identify unhappy workers, but to show that their workers actually were happy (they have previously been accused of abusing their workers), and to get those workers that non-anonymously declared that they were unhappy in touch with their manager.

Even so, how would they link those to employees?

They already had the fingerprint of employees because they use it to sign them in and out.

  • 3
    Does this actually answer the question? – gerrit Sep 2 '17 at 10:41
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    @gerrit I think that it at least contains better sources than the question, and removes some of the reasons OP doubted the story (the "where did they get the prints" part, and maybe because the source was the daily mail). It's not hard proof, but likely the best we get for now (and it's not even a case of "word against word" as there seems to be no denial on part of the employer). I ignored the "can it be done" part, because it seemed off-topic (but fingerprint scanners obviously exist). – tim Sep 2 '17 at 10:59
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    This seems like the perfect system for getting employees to go on record saying they are happy regardless of whether its true or not. Which maybe the intent. – Mark Rogers Sep 2 '17 at 15:41
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    @MarkRogers You sound unhappy about that. Are you unhappy? OK, you're fired! Only happy people work here! Hahahaha! – David Richerby Sep 2 '17 at 16:33

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