Furlough fraud, snooping and firings: architects speak out over lockdown exploitation

Furlough fraud, snooping and firings: architects speak out over lockdown exploitationOctober 13, 2020

Endless hours, home-surveillance, fear of reprisals – complaints in this already stressful industry have soared during Covid-19. We speak to distraught workers

For Maria Gomez, the nightmare began when she couldn’t get her boss out of her bedroom. “It felt like he was in there 24/7,” she says, “always watching my every move.” She was used to architecture’s punishing lifestyle, working late nights and weekends, and she had adjusted to the additional stresses of working from home during lockdown. But she hadn’t expected to be monitored via her computer webcam all day every day, with her meetings with clients secretly recorded by her bosses.

“I only realised I was being monitored when something I said was later quoted back to me in a team meeting,” she says. “And another recording of me was used in a presentation. It was completely insane. It felt like being back at school, with added hyper-surveillance.”

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