Winter came early for 24 people who were working secret second jobs or prohibited side hustles at Equifax.
The credit reporting bureau used one of its own products, The Work Number, to find out if employees were working second jobs against company policy, as well as chats with managers and things like VPN usage, Insider reported Thursday.
Then it fired them.
“We expect our team to be fully dedicated to EFX and have one role …their job at EFX,” the CEO Mark Begor wrote in an email to employees this week.
The outlet cited conversations with unnamed sources and shared documents. Equifax confirmed some information about the event in a statement to Entrepreneur.
“Equifax recently conducted an investigation into a number of employees suspected of holding dual, full-time employment that conflicted with their roles at our company,” a company spokesperson said.
“As a result, several employees who violated our company code of conduct and outside employment policy, which were in effect at the time of the investigation, were recently terminated,” it added.
The whole operation reveals a way employers, some dealing with increasingly remote laptop workforces — and others trying to wrangle people back in the office — can use surveillance to regain control in a hybrid environment.
Equifax had access to a product called The Work Number to produce reports to find out about employee activities. It offers the likes of employers and auto lenders the ability to access employment history. You can also request your own report from TWN.
Equifax told Insider a potential employer would not be able to see certain information the records have, such as salaries.
The company says 2.5 million companies have submitted payroll records to TWN. It has work history and pay information on 105 million workers in the U.S. — and expects interest in the product to grow, per the company’s disclosures.
One author of the Insider piece said their TWN report had every job they had ever worked besides unpaid internships and one job from high school.
Under the banner of The Work Number, Equifax even targets a specific product aimed at employers who might want to check if their people are working multiple jobs, called Talent Report Employment Monitoring.
The company made use of the technology and data behind it in its own months-long investigation.
“I’m not sure how Equifax can be trusted with data when it uses it to spy on its own employees,” one Equifax employee told Insider.
Equifax also told Insider that some people “may have even dialed into interviews with Equifax, conducted as part of the probe, from another job site, she said, including one who worked as a nurse, and another who claimed he was at home while sitting in what looked like an office cubicle,” the outlet wrote.
Equifax’s code of conduct has said since 2017 employees have to disclose outside work. The company allows people to work from home two days a week
One person who worked in cybersecurity at the company and was fired told the outlet they were not aware their non-compete agreement didn’t allow them to have a side hustle in a different industry.
The WSJ was one of the first outlets, back in August 2021, to report on people having a secret second job while working remotely.
Equifax also told Entrepreneur it “followed all applicable laws in its handling of this situation.”
Besides the TWN reports, Equifax used other tools for the investigation, including speaking with managers, locating people who seemed to drop out at certain points during the day, and whether people were not using the company VPN for at least 13 hours a week, or if people being investigated seemed to lie about their locations.