The death of Jeffrey Epstein is currently one of the most talked about news stories in the Western world.
Yet, whilst these are the headlines that will spark conversations and fallouts for weeks and months to come, at its centre are several HR issues including potential issues regarding safe staffing levels, burnout and a failure to follow workplace protocol.
For example, despite Epstein being in suicide watch, prison guards tasked with regularly checking in on the disgraced ex-businessman have been accused of flouting protocol and forging log entries to make it seem as though they had made the necessary checks, according to a Guardian report.
These same guards, according to Associated Press [AP] reports, faced severe staffing shortages on the morning of his suicide which meant they were working overtime to in the absence of missing colleagues.
According to the AP source, Epstein’s jail unit was manned by one guard who had worked five days overtime in a row, with another guard working obligatory overtime, which may have led them to feeling exhausted burnt out, and unable to complete their job in its usual capacity.
The two guards tasked with observing Epstein at the jail have since been placed on leave.
The US President Donald Trump has since demanded a thorough investigation into the circumstances of Epstein’s death. He told New Jersey reporters: “Basically what we’re saying it we want an investigation.
“I want a full investigation, and that’s what I absolutely am demanding. That’s what our attorney general, our great attorney general, is doing. He’s doing a full investigation.”
Before his death, Epstein was awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges.
With many theories floating around as to the truth behind Epstein’s death, if sources are correct on working conditions at his jail then there were serious workplace problems.
If prison guards flouted protocol and faked log entries to make it seem as though they were doing their job properly, this could be deemed as misconduct.
However, misconduct-style behaviour could’ve potentially stemmed from burnout and tiredness. Alleged staffing shortages, that led to guards working extreme overtime shifts, could have sparked burnout or sleep deprivation causing workers to cut corners.
Previously, HR Grapevine reported on burnout issues at Uber where system alerts were missed during a time period which employees described as near-total.