America's third-largest bank fires employees for faking keyboard activity - Hindustan Times
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America's third-largest bank fires employees for faking keyboard activity

Jun 15, 2024 03:26 PM IST

The employees were found to have used devices and software known as “mouse movers” or “mouse jigglers,” to imitate activity

Wells Fargo fired more than a dozen employees last month after finding out they were faking work, Bloomberg reported.

Wells Fargo & Co, America’s third-largest bank, continues to reel from a sales scandal that erupted in 2016.(Reuters)
Wells Fargo & Co, America’s third-largest bank, continues to reel from a sales scandal that erupted in 2016.(Reuters)

The employees were all part of the wealth and investment management unit.

They were “discharged after a review of allegations involving simulation of keyboard activity creating impression of active work,” according to disclosures filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra).

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The employees were found to have used devices and software known as “mouse movers” or “mouse jigglers,” to imitate activity. Such gadgets are available on Amazon.com for less than $20, according to the report.

“Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards and does not tolerate unethical behavior,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Banks and the finance industry was among the most aggressive in ordering workers back to the office as the pandemic waned, though Wells Fargo waited longer than rivals JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Bloomberg wrote.

Despite this, a survey earlier this year by workforce consultant Scoop found 82% of large financial companies had retained hybrid work arrangements, according to a Financial Times article.

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Wells Fargo started requiring employees to return to the office under a “hybrid flexible model” in early 2022. The bank now expects most staffers to be in the office at least three days a week, while members of management committee are in four days and many employees, such as branch workers, are in five days, according to the Bloomberg report.

In a similar case, Bank of America sent their employees, “letters of education”, warning them of disciplinary action for not reporting to work the minimum number of days each week. Goldman Sachs told junior employees earlier this year that they would no longer be able to expense meals when working from home, even if they were working late or otherwise would qualify for a meal in the office, according to Financial Times.

Late last month, Barclays and Citigroup both told hundreds of staffers they would be required to be in the office five days a week starting this month. Both banks said they were reacting to the recent changes in Finra’s regulations that would make it harder for them to keep remote workers, Financial Times wrote.

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Remote work has also created growing concerns with workers’ engagement at their jobs. Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report, published Wednesday, found that 62% of workers around the world are disengaged. That essentially means that they show up and do the bare minimum but are uninspired by their work, a Quartz report read.

Another 15% are actively disengaged — those who say they have a bad manager or a miserable job and are actively seeking a new one. On the whole, disengaged workers cost the global $8.9 trillion ( 743.6 lakh crore), or 9% of global GDP, Quartz wrote, citing Gallup's report.

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