Teleperformance has been using webcams to monitor staff that work from home and plans to extend the practice, according to a report by the Guardian
The call center company that employs more than 380,000 people allegedly told some staff that it would install “specialist webcams” to check for “infractions” of those staff working from home.
The cameras, they said, will be used for training and meetings but are also connected to an artificial intelligence network that can supervise staff without their knowledge. The software will scan randomly and flag breaches of rules violated during staff members’ shifts.
Should a staff member wish to leave their desk to get a glass of water, they will need to input this into a system on their computer, to avoid being flagged as a breach. Other breaches include eating, using a mobile phone, and not using the keyboard or mouse for a certain amount of time.
The plan, due to be rolled out in the UK was criticized by MPs and workers unions who spoke of the dangers of normalizing home surveillance.
The Guardian contacted Teleperformance for comment and they said the software would not be used in the UK. They added that levels of scrutiny would be different in other countries.
At the end of 2020, Albania call centre workers union Solidariteti filed a complaint with the Information and Data Protection Commissioner. This was due to Teleperformance allegedly installing webcams at employees desks when they switched to working from home during the pandemic.
The company employs some 2500 people in Albania.
Workers protested and eventually the Commissioner found in favour of the complaint and stopped Teleperformance from remote monitoring employees.
Barbara Mecaj from Solidariteti said: “If the company has specific demands and needs, it can apply them at their own worksites. At workers’ homes, workers should get a say.”
Christy Hoffman the General Secretary of the UNI Global Union released a statement calling the decision a major win.
“This is a major win for not just Teleperformance Albania workers, but it will ripple through the entire industry,” said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “Working from home does not mean working without rights, and the use of technology to monitor workers should be regulated by governments and collectively bargained with unions to protect workers’ privacy.”
She continued, “Unfortunately, Teleperformance continues to steamroll workers’ rights and refuses to negotiate with its unions.”
Solidariteti also accused Teleperformance of mass dismissals and not paying for quarantine leave.
In a statement issued in September, they said the company laid off 90 workers on the grounds of reducing hours but then hired 60 new employees and made applications for new recruits. The union said they are taking legal action against the company for this matter.
Exit contacted Teleperformance Albania via two separate channels to ask whether following the Commissioners decision they are still conducting remote monitoring and asking for clarification on the allegations regarding redundancies. The questions were read but remain unanswered. Exit will update this article with their response if and when it comes.