Company sacks employee after using keystroke tech to monitor her WFH output


Sydney, Aug 9 (IANS) A leading insurance company has laid off a woman employee after it reportedly used a keystroke technology on her laptop to figure out how many hours she worked from home, and found the working hours insufficient.

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) consultant Suzie Cheikho was fired earlier this year for missing deadlines and meetings, being absent and uncontactable, and failing to complete a key task, reports

Now, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has rejected an unfair dismissal application by Cheikho, saying she was sacked for a “valid reason of misconduct”.

According to the commission, she was responsible for creating insurance documents, meeting regulatory timelines, and monitoring “work from home compliance”.

Cheikho had claimed to the FWC that her employer had a “premeditated plan to remove her from the business and that she was targeted due to her mental health issues”.

She, in fact, received a formal warning in November 2022 about her poor output and was put on a performance improvement plan.

The keystroke technology was then used to analyse the number of times she physically pressed her keyboard on 49 working days from October to December.

The review found she did not work her duty hours for 44 days, started late on 47 days, finished early on 29 days, and performed zero hours of work on four days.

She averaged 54 strokes per hour over the duration of her surveillance, which showed “she was not presenting for work and performing work as required”.

“Sometimes the workload is a bit slow, but I have never not worked,” she told her managers, according to the FWC findings.

“I mean, I may go to the shops from time to time, but that is not for the entire day. I need to take some time to consider this and I will put forward a response. I have tried to go through emails and messages to see if I can explain it,” she added.

FWC, however, ruled that the evidence showed Cheikho “was not working as she was required to do during her designated working hours” while monitored.

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