Employee Ordered To Pay Her Salary Back After Being Caught With ‘Time Theft’ By Spy Software

New spy software used by Vancouver Island accounting firm Reach CPA detected that one of the workers of the company, Karlee Besse, a Canadian accountant, was performing personal tasks instead of working. The company demands that the workers repay her employee for “time theft”.

The spy software called TimeCamp once installed uses modern technology while being installed on workers’ computers and detects keystrokes and clicks to monitor that the worker is involved in doing their tasks. TimeCamp also records screen-capture videos that show which documents were opened by the user and for how long. The software then distinguishes between work and non-work/personal activities.

This issue is one of the first of its kind and the matter was taken to Civil Resolution Tribunal, Canada’s first online court, where the employee accused initially claimed that she was wrongfully charged whereas, in reality, her employer owed her $5000 in unpaid wages and severance pay. Later her employer explained that she filed a countersuit seeking just over $2600 in wages while she wasn’t working as per the requirements.

Further investigation into the matter proved that Besse was behind her schedule of work and there was a difference in her own record of working and the software’s record. Between February 22 and March 25, the firm said Besse had logged nearly 51 hours on her timesheets during which she did not engage in work-related tasks, based on the tracking software’s log. Besse further also claimed that she had been working on the printouts of the documents in question to which her employer replied that it was not possible for her to print large documents to do the work.

It is certainly a revolutionary step in the modern world that such software exists that can track and monitor the actions of a worker and distinguish between their personal and work commitments. Following this more and more companies are installing such tracking software on the computer systems of their workers in order to ensure maximum focus on their work-related tasks. Many critics, including many of the workers themselves, say that this kind of surveillance violates their privacy and basic rights. Last year October, the National Labor Relations Board expressed concern over employers’ growing electronic surveillance of workers and its potential to intrude on their privacy rights. NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo announced her intention to “protect employees, to the greatest extent possible, from intrusive or abusive electronic monitoring and automated management practices that would have a tendency to interfere with Section 7 rights.”

Section 7 protects workers’ ability to keep certain activities confidential from their employer.

The court in the end dismissed Besse’s claim and ordered her to repay $1,506.34 based on her salary for involving in “time theft”.

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