A consultant with an 18-year career at Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Suzie Cheikho, was dismissed from her position in February this year for allegedly failing to meet work output expectations while working remotely. The company had adopted keystroke technology to monitor her performance while working from home, as reported by The New York Post.
Cheikho’s role as a consultant at the insurance company involved creating insurance documents, ensuring regulatory timelines were met, and monitoring “work from home compliance.” Ironically, her own remote work performance was deemed inadequate by the company.
The company employed keystroke technology to track her work activity over a 49-day period spanning from October to December. The analysis revealed that her keystroke activity was notably low, averaging around 54 strokes per hour. During this period, it was noted that Cheikho frequently started work late, finished early, and failed to work her rostered hours on several occasions. In fact, she recorded zero hours of work on four days. The company also found her absent and uncontactable at times when her presence was expected.
In a noteworthy incident, Cheikho attended a Microsoft Teams meeting with her manager, where she had written the word “F—k” across her hand, reflecting her dissatisfaction with the situation.
Earlier, in November 2022, Cheikho had received a formal warning about her work output and was placed on a performance improvement plan. The culmination of her alleged subpar performance led to her eventual dismissal in February. The reasons cited for her termination included missing deadlines and meetings, unavailability, and failure to complete a task that resulted in a fine for her company from the industry regulator.
Cheikho responded by filing an unfair dismissal claim against IAG. However, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) rejected her claim, asserting that her termination was due to “valid reason of misconduct.” This case brings attention to the challenges and complexities of monitoring remote employees’ performance, highlighting the increased reliance on technological tools for supervision.