Canadian Court Orders Woman Repay Employer After Spyware Shows She Wasn’t Working
A Canadian accountant has been ordered by a court to repay her employer after time-tracking software found that she was misrepresenting the hours she worked.
The Guardian reports that Karlee Besse, a Canadian woman, was found by a court to have lied about the number of hours she had worked based on spyware that tracked her activities, and was consequently ordered to pay her former employer, Reach CPA, for “time theft.” Besse, a British Columbian accountant who worked remotely, was fired from her position last year and sought C$5,000 ($3,729) in severance pay and unpaid wages.
Besse’s work laptop had “TimeCamp” employee tracking software installed to track the hours she worked. Reach CPA claimed that it discovered her assigned files were late and over budget. The program keeps track of how long a document is open and how the user interacts with it and also records the time as work. According to the company, a review of the software’s usage logs “identified irregularities between her timesheets and the software usage logs.”
The application, according to Besse, was “complicated,” and she was concerned that it did not distinguish between professional and personal use. However, the company demonstrated that TimeCamp automatically distinguishes between work-related and non-work-related activities, such as using a laptop to stream movies and TV shows.
When confronted with the inconsistencies, Besse told her manager, “you can’t fight the time,” confessing that she had “plugged time to files that I didn’t touch and that wasn’t right or appropriate in any way or fashion… and for that I’m really sorry,” according to a video meeting between Besse and the company.
The judge also rejected Besse’s claim of wrongful termination at a civil tribunal that was convened to assess the case. She was ordered to pay C$2,459.89 ($1,832.42) in the form of both returned wages and a portion of an earlier advance she had received from the business.