A woman in Canada has been ordered by a civil tribunal to pay damages to her former employer for “time theft” after she was caught claiming non-work hours through tracking software.
Carly Besse, a home-based company accountant in British Columbia, initially argued she was wrongfully fired and sought $5,000 (£3,056) in unpaid wages and severance pay.
But ReachCPA said it fired her because she “engaged in time theft” and misrepresented the hours she was paid, as well as when she started working. The outstanding amount on the advance given to Ms. Bess was also answered.
The firm said it found Ms Bess had recorded more than 50 hours on her timesheets which “did not appear to have been spent on work-related tasks”.
Rich had installed staff tracking software called TimeCamp on his work laptop after starting weekly performance meetings with his manager.
The tribunal document in the case states: “Reach states that its analysis of Miss Bess’s timesheets and timecamp data identified discrepancies between her timesheets and software usage logs.
“Access the collected videos showing how Time Camp tracked Miss Bess’s time and activity.
“It states that the videos prove that Miss Besse engaged in time theft by recording work hours on her timesheets that were not tracked by TimeCamp.”
Ms Bess said she found the software difficult to use and could not get it to distinguish between work and personal use.
But the company showed how Time Camp could differentiate between the two, such as if it was used to access streaming services like Disney+ and for how long.
Ms. Bess also said that she spent a lot of time working with paper copies of client documents that would not have been captured by TimeCamp and that she did not tell Reich because she “knew that he would will not want to hear” and was afraid.
The firm provided Time Camp data showing Ms Bess’s printing, saying she could not produce the required hard copies and that details would have to be entered into software at some point, which did not happen. .
‘I’m really sorry,’ says the accountant.
When confronted with the timekeeping analysis in a videotaped meeting with the company, Ms. Bess said: “Obviously, I’ve put time into files that I didn’t touch and that’s in no way accurate or accurate. It wasn’t appropriate, and I recognize that and I’m very sorry for that… I can’t hide it.”
Tribunal member Megan Stewart found that Reich had proved Miss Bess had engaged in time theft, which she described as “an extremely serious form of misconduct”.
Rejecting the wrongful termination claim, he said: “Given that trust and honesty are essential to an employment relationship, particularly in a remote work environment where there is no direct supervision, I felt whether Ms. Bess’s misconduct caused an irreparable breakdown in her employment relationship. with Reich and that her termination was proportionate in the circumstances.”
He ordered Ms Bess to pay a total of $2,757 (£1,691), including “damages for debt and theft of time” and the balance of advances from the firm.
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