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Employees sue Finish Line over manager's secret camera use

November 17, 2011

Indianapolis-based The Finish Line Inc. is facing a lawsuit in California after one of its former managers secretly installed a camera in an employee bathroom and store dressing room.

Five female employees, whose ages ranged from 17 to 21 at the time, are seeking unspecified damages from the retail chain and the ex-manager, David Meyer.

Meyer, who started out managing Finish Line stores in Indiana, was manager of the Milpitas, Calif., store from 2006 to February 2010. He made the recordings in late 2009 and early last year, but they weren’t discovered on his personal computer until March, according to the women’s lawsuit, which was filed in August in U.S. District Court of northern California.

It’s not clear who discovered the videos, and Meyer, who now resides in Warsaw in northern Indiana, doesn’t appear to be facing criminal charges.

Meyer, who is representing himself, filed a response in which he admits to placing hidden cameras in the employee bathroom and the dressing room on multiple occasions between December 2009 and April 2010.

Meyer said he used the cameras to “identify who was flushing harmful items down the toilet.”

Indianapolis-based Finish Line sought help with legal costs from its insurer under its general liability policy after the suit was filed, but Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. denied the claim. Now Liberty Mutual is asking the U.S. District Court of southern Indiana to issue a declaration confirming that its denial is appropriate.

Finish Line might be able to settle the case out of court. The company’s lawyers have asked the California judge to force the women into private arbitration.

As part of their job applications, the women signed an agreement stating “parties shall have no right to litigate a dispute in any other forum,” Finish Line notes.

Finish Line spokeswoman Anne Roman said she couldn’t comment on ongoing litigation, but the company has issued a statement saying it had nothing to do with Meyer’s behavior.

The situation was “isolated to an ex-employee that has not worked for the company in nearly two years and whose alleged actions were neither known to nor in any way condoned by the company,” the statement said. "The safety and security of our employees is a top priority at Finish Line.”

Finish Line operates about 650 athletic apparel and footwear stores across the country.

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