A WFH employee in Australia is hitting out at her ex-employer after it tracked how much she was typing — and then fired her

Hands typing on a laptop keyboard.

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An employee in Australia was fired for not typing enough when she worked from home.
Her manager said she should be hitting over 500 keystrokes per hour. She was typing 80 keystrokes per hour between December 1-16.
Her unfair dismissal application was thrown out, but she still claims she was targeted.

A woman in Australia is blasting her ex-employee for firing her for not typing enough when she was working from home — even though her unfair dismissal claim was thrown out.

Suzie Cheikho was fired by Insurance Australia Group, or IAG, on February 20 after the company found “very low keystroke activity” on her laptop between October and December 2022, per a July 21 filing by Australia’s Fair Work Commission.

Cheikho had been working for the company for 18 years and was a consultant for outbound communications disclosure when her employment was terminated.

Cheikho put in an unfair dismissal application to the Australian Fair Work Commission on March 13. The commission dismissed her application, saying she was dismissed “for a valid reason of misconduct,” according to the filing.

But she has continued hitting back at IAG’s claims against her, reiterating to Australia’s Sunrise TV program last week she was targeted. 

In the filing, IAG alleged there was “very low keystroke activity” on Cheikho’s laptop over the period, “which indicated that she was not presenting for work and performing work as required.” 

The insurance company presented precise details saying Cheikho logged 48.6 keystrokes per hour in October, 34.56 keystrokes per hour in November, and 80 keystrokes per hour in December.

It also said she had zero keystroke activity for 117 hours in October, 143 hours in November, and 60 hours in December.

“As her role required data input and correspondence with various stakeholders, her keystrokes per hour would be upwards of 500 keystrokes per hour,” her direct manager said, according to the filing. She was placed on a performance improvement plan in December 2022.

Cheikho argued IAG had a “premeditated plan to remove her from the business and that she was targeted for her mental health issues,” according to the filing.

She also said she used other devices to work and that there were “extended periods where she was just reading and checking the wording of documents and did not have to do anything else.”

The case in Australia highlights the use of employee surveillance technology as more employees work remotely following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the US, a mid-March survey commissioned by ResumeBuilder.com found that 96% of business leaders with a primarily remote or hybrid workforce used some form of employee monitoring software to ensure that their staff remained productive — a big jump from just 10% before the outbreak.

Just 5% of those employers who monitored their employees said their staff was unaware they were being surveilled.

Companies are also using the data they obtain from monitoring their staff — about three-quarters of 1,000 survey respondents told ResumeBuilder.com their companies fired employees over the data they collected. 

IAG and Cheikho did not immediately respond to requests from Insider for comment.

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