A work-from-home employee who was sacked for not typing enough has shared her side of the story in an explosive new interview on Sunrise.
Speaking to hosts Nat Barr and Matt Shirvington, Suzie Cheikho claimed she was “targeted” by her bosses after 18 years of loyal service and accused them of not meeting their “duty of care”.
Cheikho made headlines this week after it was revealed that she was fired after her employers used Work From Home monitoring to determine that she wasn’t using her computer enough.
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The Fair Work Commission (FWC) rejected an unfair dismissal application by Cheikho, stating she was fired from Insurance Australia Group (IAG) for a “valid reason of misconduct”.
The review found she started late on 47 days, did not work her rostered hours for 44 days, finished early on 29 days and performed zero hours of work on four days.
Sacked worker Suzie Cheikho. Credit: Sunrise
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They also found on the days she did log on she had “very low keystroke activity” and recorded zero strokes over 117 hours in October, 143 hours in November and 60 hours in December.
But speaking on Sunrise, Cheikho explained that she was suffering from personal and mental health issues during the period she was being monitored.
She lashed out at IAG for not doing enough to support her through the difficult time – instead, claiming they used Work From Home monitoring to sack her.
“I just want to say that I, unfortunately, have been fired,” she told Nat and Shirvo.
“But I held a job for 18 years – I was a hard worker and I know I was a loyal worker.
“I was going through some personal and mental health issues. I was reprimanded for my work, instead of my company meeting their duty of care and helping me.
Sunrise hosts Nat and Shirvo interview Cheikho. Credit: Sunrise
“I was basically targeted because of my mental health and the things that I was going through.
“And I feel like it was a premeditated attack to actually get me out of the company.”
Cheikho then defended the various claims that were made against her during the Fair Work Commission inquiry, including that bosses were unable to reach her at times.
“So with the part where I was uncontactable, I was actually I had a medical emergency,” she explained.
“At that time, I unfortunately was unable to start on my roster time. As soon as I was home from the hospital, I actually contacted my manager. Another time was another medical issue.
“I’m a woman who lives on my own. I don’t have I don’t have a spousal and next of kin, so nobody could contact my work.
“It wasn’t that I was uncontactable.”
Cheikho accused her bosses of targeting her. Credit: Sunrise
It was also claimed that IAG received a fine after Cheikho failed to lodge a product disclosure statement on time, which was part of her role.
But the worker claims this was her first error in 18 years at the company.
“Everybody makes mistakes … I made my first mistake and I missed a deadline in lodging a document on time,” she said.
“And I got a warning for it. That was my first ever.”
Cheikho said she “wasn’t aware” that her employers had installed “Bossware” technology on her computer to monitor her work levels.
“By the time I got my official warning, which was in November, I was placed on a performance plan in December – which then led the company to undergo a cyber review, which is where they’ve come up with this data,” she said.
“But they did it from October to December. And I wasn’t given the data till January.
“So everybody’s going around talking about how I was given so much time. It wasn’t that I was given time – I was on my performance review, whilst they were undergoing this cyber review.”
An expert has revealed the little-known ways that bosses can catch out WFH employees. File image. Credit: Getty
Speaking on Sunrise on Thursday, workplace relations lawyer Michael Byrnes told host Nat Barr that employers have every right to monitor workers who are based at home.
“When you’re working from home, your home becomes the workplace,” he said.
“And employers have a right to monitor or survey you while you’re in the workplace, subject to workplace surveillance legislation.
“Pretty much all the employer needs to do is to give you notice that they are monitoring you – and they can do that by computer or even by camera.
“But employers have a right to do it. And there really isn’t a universal or broad right of privacy.
“So I think this will come as a surprise to a lot of employees, the extent to which employers can do this.”
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