Equifax Used Its Own Technology to Find — and Fire — 24 Workers With Secret Second Jobs The company used a product called The Work Number, which has payroll records from about 2.5 million companies. Your employer could buy it, too.

By Gabrielle Bienasz

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Miguel Pereira I Getty Images
Working from home with baby in Spain in 2020.

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.

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Science & Technology

These Are the Top 6 AI Threats to Your Business Right Now

The modern workforce is forever changed by artificial intelligence. If you fail to understand that we will all need to learn AI to some degree, you haven't been paying attention.

Social Media

How To Start a Youtube Channel: Step-by-Step Guide

YouTube can be a valuable way to grow your audience. If you're ready to create content, read more about starting a business YouTube Channel.

Business News

Here Are 3 Strategies Startup Founders Can Use to Approach High-Impact Disputes

The $7 billion "buy now, pay later" startup Klarna recently faced a public board spat. Here are three strategies to approach conflict within a business.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Vice Will No Longer Publish Content on Its Website, Lays Off Hundreds of Staffers

Vice Media CEO Bruce Dixon announced the news in an internal memo to employees on Thursday.

Business News

'This Can't Be True': Google Responds to Viral Hoax Claiming the Company Is Shutting Down Gmail

The fake news release started making its way around X on Thursday.