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


In Australia, a woman named Suzie Cheikho is criticizing her former employer, Insurance Australia Group (IAG), for terminating her employment due to insufficient typing activity while working from home. Despite having her unfair dismissal claim rejected by the Australian Fair Work Commission, Cheikho continues to dispute the company's accusations against her. IAG claimed that there was a significant decline in Cheikho's keystroke activity on her laptop between October and December 2022, suggesting that she was not fully engaged in her work responsibilities. According to the filing, the company provided detailed data, stating that Cheikho logged an average of 48.6 keystrokes per hour in October, 34.56 keystrokes per hour in November, and 80 keystrokes per hour in December. 

Additionally, they highlighted periods where she had zero keystroke activity for multiple hours. Cheikho's direct manager emphasized that her role required significantly more keystrokes per hour due to data input and correspondence with various stakeholders. Consequently, Cheikho was placed on a performance improvement plan in December 2022. However, she argued that IAG had a deliberate plan to remove her from the company and claimed that her mental health issues played a role in their decision. 

Cheikho also asserted that she used other devices for work and had to spend extended periods reading and reviewing documents, during which keystrokes were unnecessary. This case in Australia reflects the increasing use of employee surveillance technology as more individuals continue to work remotely following the COVID-19 pandemic.

 In a survey conducted in the US in mid-March, 96% of business leaders with primarily remote or hybrid workforces reported using some form of employee monitoring software to ensure productivity—an increase from just 10% before the outbreak. The survey also revealed that only 5% of employers conducting surveillance claimed that their employees were unaware of being monitored.

 Furthermore, approximately three-quarters of the survey respondents acknowledged that their companies had terminated employees based on the data collected through monitoring. At the time of reporting, neither IAG nor Cheikho had responded to requests for comment from Insider.  

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