Case study 6 - How a company lost more than $4 million in damaged equipment and lost operating time.
Case study 6
George, 24, worked for a large company in the resources (mining) sector. He came from Europe and had been in Australia for six months. Although quiet initially, he soon started talking about starving people, and weather changes that would cause massive tsunamis that would drown half the world.
George’s workmates wondered why he worked for the company — he didn’t seem interested in the good wages, and he didn’t seem to approve of digging into the ground for valuable resources. This wasn’t something they thought much about, but they did notice that their supervisor treated George’s talk with derision.
One morning, George’s colleagues arrived at work to find that the company’s equipment had been spray painted, its tyres slashed and its engines clogged with sand. They also found George and two friends chained to a mine entrance, with what they said were bombs in their backpacks. George demanded that the company cease operations immediately and give 80 per cent of last year’s profits to charity. He said the company was committing environmental terrorism.
After hours of negotiation the police removed George and his friends. Although they discovered that the bombs were crude hoaxes, the company lost more than $4 million in damaged equipment and lost operating time. The company then spent $1.25 million on an immediate upgrade to its security and lost 4 per cent of its share value as investors lost confidence in management.
George and his friends were each tried, convicted and sentenced. During the course of the trial, it was revealed that George was a well-known environmental activist in his homeland and had sought to work at the company with the intention of sabotaging its operations.
What did not happen?
X Check identity.
X Note employees with strongly held views that seem to contradict the purpose of the business.
X Managers should demonstrate respect for their employees’ views (unless they are discriminatory), even if they are concerned about these views and express their concerns to other managers.
X Check whether all employees need after-hours access.
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