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Wells Fargo employees fired after fake-work claim turns up keyboard sim, Bloomberg reports

More than a dozen Wells Fargo employees were fired last month following an investigation about the bankers “fake working,” Bloomberg reported.

The financial services company found that the employees, who all worked in the wealth and investment management unit, were creating the impression of active work by way of keyboard activity simulation, according to the reporting by Bloomberg.

They were all “discharged” on May 8 by Wells Fargo following an internal investigation of the claims, Bloomberg reported.

Whether the keyboard simulation was an external device or software was not immediately clear, nor was the location of the employees who were accused of faking work.

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Laurie W. Kight, a company spokesperson, told USA TODAY Monday that “Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards and does not tolerate unethical behavior.” And declined to provide additional comment on the matter.

‘Hybrid flex model’ required for Wells Fargo employees

Wells Fargo was one of the last financial institutions to make employees return to the office after the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring them to opt into a “hybrid flexible model” in 2022, according to Bloomberg.

Most employees are in the office at least three days a week, while some members of management are in four days and many other employees, such as branch workers, are in five days, Bloomberg reported.

Spying on employees is the new norm

A home office desk set up with a keyboard, a mouse and a laptop pictured in Los Angeles, Calif.
A home office desk set up with a keyboard, a mouse and a laptop pictured in Los Angeles, Calif.

Wells Fargo isn’t the only company spying on employees to gauge levels of productivity or ensure that works tasks are being completely in a timely manner.

Dan Mauer, director of government affairs at Communications Workers of America, told USA TODAY last year that this was happening at “a lot of companies.”

And it has been since the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a number of companies to offer millions of employees the ability to work remotely, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 

Spying bosses typically use software tools or devices to monitor “activity,” including logs of clicks, keystrokes, online behavior, according to the EFC.

There are few regulations and little legal recourse to prevent companies from spying on their workers, USA TODAY previously reported. Pennsylvania delegates in the House and the Senate introduced the "Stop Spying Bosses Act" in 2023 and again this year, but both measures were sent to committees and with no subsequent action taken.

Employees across business sector have retaliated in their own way over the years, acquiring gadgets or downloading software to imitate employee activity, Bloomberg reported.

Contributing: Candy Woodall

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Wells Fargo employees fired after fake work, keyboard simulator probe