When The Client Is Wrong And The ‘Bad’ Guy Is Good: A Case Study

A lot of companies in our field – heck, a lot of companies full stop – use the ‘case studies’ space on their professional blog to tell big, detailed stories about how they achieved a fantastic result for their client, confirmed all their worst suspicions and caught the ‘bad buy’ or whatever. God knows, there’s a fair enough amount of those very types of case studies in our own archives. Scroll through and take a look.

But what about a study that highlights some good old-fashioned fact-chasing, professionalism and a mask-pull twist ending where the ‘bad guy’ wasn’t bad and the client was wrong all along? There’s not enough of those case studies out there and maybe it’s because no one is wanting to spotlight the times when (*whispers it carefully*) the client calls it wrong.

Our client was a large North East based commercial business with a fleet of drivers within their employment. Surmount Investigations were brought in when ‘rumours’ had started to circulate about one of these drivers – turning in drunk, missing deadlines on deliveries, bad attitude and so on. The general consensus was that too many bad reports were coming in on this one particular driver and the client was in the process of collating and investigating them in order to take action in a disciplinary capacity.

We were asked to act as an independent ‘set of eyes’ on the driver in question over the course of five (5) work days on his usual route.

On the first day our client, following further complaints about the client’s sobriety at work, contacted the police and within minutes of the subject leaving to complete his rounds he was pulled over and breathalysed. He apparently showed no sign of being over the limit at that time in the morning and was sent on his way. We followed on.

Over the course of the week, we followed and photographed the driver. Our footage and timings indicated that he went in to most properties where he was delivering something and spending a few minutes there. It looked to us like he was helping to lift things in as opposed to just dropping them off – something we later discovered was discouraged by the subject’s team leader “in order to keep time down”.

The subject never veered from his routes, never took longer for his lunch-break than he was entitled and we never clocked him once committing so much as a moving traffic violation.

On the fifth and final day we actually observed the subject go into a local supermarket in his lunch hour, buy a considerable amount of food and then drop it off at a food bank on his way back over to the south side of the river before clocking off for the end of his shift. We completed localised enquiries in and around the food bank subsequently and discovered that because the subject never identified themselves in any capacity and was always in his company uniform, the staff at the food bank assumed the weekly donation (that had been going on for months) was being made by our clients.

We compiled all of our findings and reported back to the clients and made it clear that there was no evidence that backed up any of the allegations against the subject. We went so far as to state that even the odd small step outside of company ‘protocol’ so to speak only served to enhance the company’s own reputation overall.

The client asked us to stay on and assess the allegations overall and work with them to look at the sheer volume of negative complaints about the subject and how it could have all got to this stage because to quote them exactly: “One or two fake complaints or lies about him is one thing, but three or four a month every month is concerning.”

We worked diligently through each complaint over the last quarter alone and there was a lot: We could yield no trace of a victim of his so-called sexist remarks and no witnesses to back up the team leader like the team leader themselves suggested. The subject’s time stamps did not reflect being late to start each day like had been alleged. Driving daily under the influence had been debunked by the police themselves.

… and then we discovered the team leader’s poorly secured Facebook page and a post with 135 comments underneath from the year previously, soon after the subject had started working for the company. It soon became apparent that the team leader and the subject went to school with each other many years previously and there was no love lost between one another. There within the comments were hardened remarks by the team leader and his friends who fed each other ideas about how the team leader could get rid of the subject or force him to quit.

We printed off screen-shots of these remarks and supplied them to the client within the context of our overall report and then later attended a disciplinary hearing to give evidence against the team leader in relation to the malicious allegations he had made and the false reporting he had completed against an entirely innocent member of staff.

In debrief our client was thankful that the truth had been brought to their attention and that they had avoided acting against the original subject with haste.

We provide a wide variety of completely bespoke support services via investigation and surveillance to employers of all sizes and fields throughout Newcastle, Tyne and Wear and the whole of the North East.

If you are interested in how we may be able to help you with a concern you have with an employee or an incident occurring within your business, contact us today to arrange a FREE consultation.