A Canadian woman has been ordered by a civil court to pay damages to her former employer for “time theft” after she claimed time not worked through tracking software.
Karlee Besse, a family firm accountant in British Columbia, initially argued she was wrongfully fired and is seeking $5,000 (£3,056) in unpaid wages and severance pay.
But Reach CPA said it fired her because she “participated in time theft” and countersued wages paid for the false hours and the unpaid amount Ms Besse was prepaid when she started working.
The company said it found that Ms Beth had logged more than 50 hours on her timesheet that “did not appear to be spent on work-related tasks”.
Reach once installed employee tracking software called TimeCamp on her work laptop after she started holding weekly performance meetings with her manager.
Court documents in the case state: “Reach states that its analysis of Miss Besse’s timesheet and TimeCamp data found irregularities between her timesheet and software usage logs.
“The video submitted by Reach demonstrates how TimeCamp tracks Miss Besse’s time and activities.
“It says the videos prove that Miss Besse engaged in time theft by recording work time in her timesheet, which TimeCamp did not track.”
Ms Besse said she found the software to be difficult to use and could not distinguish between work and personal use.
But the company showed how Timecamp can differentiate the two, such as whether it’s being used to access streaming services like Disney+ and for how long.
Ms Besse also said she spent a lot of time dealing with paper copies of client documents, which would not be captured by TimeCamp, and didn’t tell Reach because she “knew they didn’t want to hear about it” and was scared.
TimeCamp data provided by the company showing Ms Besse’s printing work, the company said, suggested she was unable to make the required number of hard copies and had to enter details into the software at some point, which did not happen.
‘I’m really sorry’, accountant says
Faced with a timing analysis in a video conference with the company, Ms Beth said: “It is clear that I have crammed time onto documents that I have not had access to, which is incorrect or inappropriate in any respect or fashion, And I admit it, and for that I’m really sorry … I can’t hide that.”
Court member Meghan Stewart found Reach had testified Ms Besse was involved in the time theft, which she described as “a very serious form of misconduct”.
She dismissed the allegations of wrongful dismissal, saying: “Given the importance of trust and honesty in an employment relationship, especially in a remote working environment without direct supervision, I find that Miss Beth’s misconduct has led to irreparable damage to her employment relationship. The rupture of Reach’s dismissal was proportionate in the circumstances.”
She ordered Ms Besse to pay Reach a total of $2,757 (£1,691), including “time-theft debts and damages” and the outstanding portion of advances she had received from the company.