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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    5

    Exclamation Disciplinary Action from Mystery Shops Performed by

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: California

    We work for a very large high profile (Forbes top 100) company. Lately we've been having a promotion on a certain service/item we offer and our district manager and all managers in our district have been pushing this promotion on us for weeks to the point where they have begun personally "mystery shopping" through FRIENDS/FAMILY MEMBERS and on a very rare occasion themselves.

    One night I was mystery shopped by the DM's daughter, a NON employee of our company and they gave my manager negative feedback (I could go on to defend myself but I dont wanna waste anyone's time )

    The following day I got a disiplinary "verbal" write up (level 1, paperwork is involved) for the negative feedback.

    My coworker & I did research & found online that per California law,
    Quoting from findings on the Internet:

    "mystery shop results cannot be used as the sole source of disciplining shopped employees unless the shop was performed by a California licensed private investigator or their authorized employee"

    "Traditional mystery shops (non loss prevention) can be used as a part of a shopped employee's disciplined processes as long as the shop is NOT the sole source of information in the discipline process"

    "if the mystery shop is used as a source of information in a discipline process, a copy of the shop itself must be presented to the employee"

    This all sounds correct, but I didn't receive an official "copy of the shop" just a brief email list of the DMs "mystery shop" tour in our district and specifics to the shop.


    Is this practice of their Mystery Shopping legal? Is it legal for them to discipline from directly based on a mystery shop, or are they protected in some way as it can be looked at as their own practices? The words "Mystery Shop" are used specifically by our superiors.


    I take responsibility for the negative feedback, but my coworker (and the info he found) brought this to my attention and now I just really want to know if what happened to us (he got a write up too) was fair & more importantly illegal..



    Thanks for non malicious and judgmental feedback (negative? LOL) ahead of time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,121

    Default Re: Disciplinary Action from Mystery Shops Performed by

    Post the statute number of the law in question.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Disciplinary Action from Mystery Shops Performed by

    CALIFORNIA BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE

    CHAPTER 11.3. PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS

    Article 3 . Regulation, Licensing, and Registration ............ 7520-7539

    BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE

    SECTION 7520-7539

    7522. (n) (1) A person or business engaged in conducting objective observations of consumer purchases of products or services in the public environments of a business establishment by the use of a pre-established questionnaire, provided that person or business entity does not engage in any other activity that requires licensure pursuant to this chapter. The questionnaire may include objective comments.

    (2) If a pre-established questionnaire is used as a basis, but not the sole basis, for disciplining or discharging an employee, or fo r conducting an interview with the employee that might result in the employee being terminated, the employer shall provide the employee with a copy of that questionnaire using the same procedures that an employer is required to follow under Section 2930 of the Labor Code for providing an employee with a copy of a shopping investigator's report. This subdivision does not exempt from this chapter a person or business described in paragraph (1) if a pre-established questionnaire of that person or business is used as the sole basis for evaluating an employee's work performance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,121

    Default Re: Disciplinary Action from Mystery Shops Performed by

    The law you have posted does not say what you claim it says. It says only that IF a pre-established questionaire is used as a basis for discipline or discharge, the employee is entitled to a copy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,306

    Default Re: Disciplinary Action from Mystery Shops Performed by

    Concur with cbg.

    "Mystery Shopping" is an umbrella term that covers many forms of investigative shopping or customer service evaluations. There is no law requiring any company to use any particular method of mystery shopping, neither does the law require a standardized questionnaire. Companies may use their own internal methods, including contracting family and/or friends to conduct the shop, so as not to arouse employee suspicion that they are being shopped.

    Had your company contracted a traditional Mystery Shop company - which typically uses a pre-established questionnaire format - you'd be entitled to a copy of that questionnaire. Since they used a more informal process, the email from the DM is sufficient.
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