An Australian woman, who was working with an insurance company, lost her job after 18 years after her firm used keystroke technology to monitor her work-from-home performance. According to New York Post, Insurance Australia Group (IAG) consultant Suzie Cheikho was sacked from her job for not typing enough while working remotely. Australia’s Fair Work Commission (FWC) rejected her “unfair” dismissal application, saying that she was fired for a “valid reason of misconduct”.
According to the outlet, Ms Cheikho was responsible for creating insurance documents, meeting regulatory timelines and monitoring “work from home compliance” among other significant roles. She was fired earlier this year in February for missing deadlines and meetings, being absent and uncontactable, and failing to complete a task which caused the industry regulator to fine her company.
In March, Ms Cheiko 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”. However, FWC’s investigation found that Ms Cheikho was fired for a “valid reason of misconduct”.
The former consultant received a formal warning in November 2022 about her output and was put on a performance improvement plan. Insurance Australia Group used keystroke technology to track her cyber activity for 49 days between October and December, and found that she had “very low keystroke activity”.
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The firm found that Ms Cheikho started work late on 47 days, finished early on 29 days and did not work her rostered hours for 44 days. It also discovered that on 4 days, she did zero hours of work, 7 News reported.
According to the findings, Ms Cheikho averaged 54 strokes per hour over the duration of her surveillance, which showed “she was not presenting for work and performing work as required”.
However, the consultant denied that she worked less than her set hours, saying she sometimes used other devices to log in. She also said that she was “confused and shocked” at the data, and questioned its accuracy.
But FWC Deputy President Thomas Roberts ruled the evidence showed Ms Cheikho “was not working as she was required to do during her designated working hours” while monitored. “The applicant was dismissed for a valid reason of misconduct,” Mr Roberts said, as per the outlet. He acknowledged the unfortunate situation but ruled that the termination wasn’t unjust or unreasonable.
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