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Bankers sacked for faking work following rise of ‘mouse jigglers’

Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo has fired bankers for faking work amid a rise in “mouse jigglers”.

The US banking giant discharged members of its wealth and investment management arm after investigating claims that they were pretending to be busy.

The bankers were accused of simulating “keyboard activity” to create the impression of active work, according to disclosures filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

A spokesman for the San Francisco-based bank told Bloomberg: “Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards and does not tolerate unethical behaviour.”

It comes amid a rise in mouse jigglers used by hybrid workers to imitate computer activity and appear to their bosses as though they are doing work.

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These devices are designed to automatically move a cursor so that workers appear active even if they are away from the desk

Demand for these gadgets soared during the pandemic as employees were forced to work from home.

Mouse movers also surged in popularity in response to companies introducing surveillance software to track employee activity.

This includes monitoring keystrokes, mouse movement and using laptop cameras and microphones.

Employers have claimed that the so-called bossware is designed to boost productivity and to ensure workers aren’t slacking off.

However, many have criticised these tools as being intrusive and allowing employers to spy on them at home.

Wells Fargo is said to have cracked down on mouse jigglers during the pandemic and kept track of how many employees were using their keyboards, according to online forum The Layoff.

It is unclear from disclosures to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a private watchdog overseeing US brokers and traders, whether the Wells Fargo bankers were sacked for allegedly pretending to work while at home.

The firings come as lenders have cracked down on workers flouting mandatory office attendance requirements.

Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs requires employees to be in the office five days a week after its boss David Solomon described home working as an “aberration”.

Last year, US lender JP Morgan also threatened investment bankers with “corrective action” if they worked from home too much.

HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group are also among the UK banks which have ordered employees to work from the office more often.

Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the US, expects most employees to work from the office at least three days per week, Bloomberg reported.

This requirement increases to four days for the lender’s management committee members and to five days for branch workers.

Wells Fargo was contacted for comment.