A woman, who was working with an Australian insurance company, lost her job after 18 years because she logged in late for 47 days. The company installed keystroke technology on her system to check whether she was working on time, fulfilling her targets while working from home. Keystroke technology is a broad term that refers to any technology that records or analyzes keystrokes. This can include software-based keyloggers, hardware-based keyloggers, and keystroke dynamics systems. Sometimes the person on whose system the keystrokes are installed is often unaware of it.
As per The New York Post, Suzie Cheikho, a former consultant at Insurance Australia Group (IAG) had vital responsibilities such as crafting insurance documents, meeting regulatory timelines, and overseeing “work from home compliance.” Ironically, her own remote work performance became the cause of her 18-year tenure’s abrupt end.
The report highlighted that Cheikho was dismissed on February 20 for several reasons, including missing deadlines, being absent and unreachable, and failing to complete a task that resulted in a fine for IAG from industry regulators. A month later, Cheikho stated that her employer had a premeditated plan to remove her from the company, alleging that her mental health struggles made her a target.
As revealed by online findings, Cheikho had received a warning about her work output in November 2022 and was subsequently placed on a performance improvement plan. Her cyber activity was scrutinized through detailed keystroke analysis during 49 working days between October and December. The review exposed that she hadn’t adhered to her scheduled hours for 44 days, began work late on 47 days, concluded early on 29 days, and logged zero work hours on 4 days.
During the days she logged in, her keystroke activity was remarkably low, even hitting zero keystrokes over extended periods. Her average keystroke rate was merely 54 per hour, which the surveillance indicated was far from satisfactory.
Cheikho, during a formal meeting regarding the review, expressed disbelief in the data’s accuracy but failed to provide any evidence countering the report’s claims. She claimed to always start on time and attributed any deviations to personal issues stemming from an injury. Cheikho stated that she communicated her medical appointments through Microsoft Teams and would compensate for missed time afterward.
The report also mentions that during a Microsoft Teams meeting, it was observed that Cheikho had profanity written on her hand while discussing her work performance with her manager. FWC Deputy President Thomas Roberts concluded that the evidence indicated Cheikho’s failure to meet work requirements during monitored hours. Roberts pointed out her lack of a credible explanation and highlighted her employer’s need for her to use her laptop for tasks.
Ultimately, Roberts determined that Cheikho’s dismissal took place due to misconduct, despite recognizing her years of satisfactory service. While acknowledging the unfortunate situation, Roberts ruled the termination wasn’t unjust or unreasonable. As a result, Cheikho’s request for reinstatement was rejected by the FWC.