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Wells Fargo fires employees for faking keyboard activity

Wells Fargo, still reeling from a fake account scandal that cost the bank billions and damaged its reputation, recently fired more than a dozen employees for faking keyboard activity, according to the documents submitted to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. This simulation, possibly achieved with a jiggler mouse, a device that keeps a computer screen active and moves the cursor randomly, has become more common since the start of the pandemic and the shift to remote working .

With employees no longer physically present in the office, employers have had to face the challenge of ensuring productivity. While most workers claim increased productivity from home, many companies, including Wells Fargo, have turned to monitoring software, or “bossware,” to monitor their employees' activities. Details surrounding Wells Fargo's recent layoffs remain unclear, and a spokesman for the bank declined to provide more information, saying only that the bank holds its employees to the highest standards and does not tolerate unethical behavior.

Ashley Herd, founder of management training company Manager Method, suggests that using devices like mouse movements is indicative of a larger problem. Wells Fargo's history of mistrust of management, stemming from the fake account scandal that began with unrealistic sales goals set for employees, makes this issue particularly relevant for the bank. Since the scandal, Wells Fargo has been working to reform its internal culture and repair its brand, while maintaining tight controls on work-issued devices because of the highly regulated nature of the banking industry.

However, the decision to fire employees for using mouse motors raises questions about the effectiveness of these measures in fostering a culture of trust and inclusion. Herd argues that managers often assume the worst when employees are away from their desks and look for any data to confirm their suspicions, leading employees to find ways to bypass these controls.


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