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Worker ordered to pay £2,020 back after spy tech revealed she was a time thief

The company said an analysis ‘identified irregularities between her timesheets and the software usage logs’ (Picture: Unsplash)

Have you ever multi-tasked doing tasks unrelated to your job description while working remotely? A Canadian woman has been fined for doing just that.

Karlee Besse, an accountant who worked remotely has been ordered by a civil tribunal to pay $2,459 (£2,020) to her former employer for ‘time theft’.

Time theft is when an employee claims wages for the time they did not work. In this case, Besse was caught misrepresenting hours worked by a controversial tracking software called TimeCamp.

The software tracks how long a document is open, how the employee uses the document and logs the time as work.

Besse’s employer, Reach CPA said it had installed the software on her work laptop after it found her assigned files were over budget and behind schedule.

Man working from home

Time theft is when an employee claims wages for the time they did not work (Picture: Unsplash)

According to the software, Beese had logged more than 50 hours that ‘did not appear to have been spent on work-related tasks’.

Weeks later, the company said an analysis ‘identified irregularities between her timesheets and the software usage logs’.

Besse told the tribunal she found the program ‘difficult’ and worried it didn’t differentiate between work and personal use. She also said that she had printed documents to work on but did not tell her employer as she was afraid of repercussions.

The company demonstrated how TimeCamp automatically distinguishes time logs for work from activities such as using streaming movies and TV shows.

The software does track printing but any work done on the printed documents needed to be input into the company’s software, which Besse skipped.



What is TimeCamp?

TimeCamp is a software that tracks billable and non-billable project hours, enabling its users to generate invoices automatically and use timesheets.

Besse had initially taken Reach CPA to court for wrongful termination and sought $5,000 (£3,066) in compensation for unpaid wages and severance.

However, the judge tossed out her claim and ordered her to pay for the ‘time theft’ in returned wages and part of a previous advance she had received from the company.

Many businesses are turning to workplace surveillance to keep an eye on how their staff perform.

Half of all large corporations use monitoring techniques including analysing emails and social media messages alongside looking at genetic data, research firm Gartner found. It expects that figure to rise to 80% by 2020, up from 30% back in 2015.

In the UK, employers are legally allowed to monitor which websites you look at while at work and using devices provided by the workplace, meaning they are legally able to know if you’re spending time on sites that aren’t deemed productive, such as Facebook.


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