Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you actually know who this information was disclosed to?
IT was the Head of the Department who then informed other members in the department
hello, sorry forgot to say this first :(
Every employment contract contains an implied term of mutual trust and confidence. This places a duty on both parties to act in a way which would be in keeping with the spirit of the employment relationship. So part of this would be to keep confidential information about the other just in that way - confidential. If an employee has submitted a doctor's note, there would be an implied expectation for details of the note and the reasons for their absence to be kept confidential and to be released only to those who need to know about it, for example managers, administrators, etc. However, general dissemination of this sensitive information can certainly amount to a breach of the duty of trust and confidence by the employer. Your partner is able to raise a grievance in respect of this and request that they investigate what has happened and deal with those responsible as necessary. Apart from the grievance her last option is to resign and claim constructive dismissal but it is a drastic step to take and should only be used as a last resort if she strongly believes that she is no longer able to work there as a result of all of this.
Would the grievance be a legal process? The reason I ask is becuase we (my partner and I) have arranged to meet with her line manager tomorrow for a meeting. Just wondering how to start this. I would also like to raise that the Head of the Department said in a presentation to a leaving member of staff at the end of last term, "we are likely to see you soon to cover maternity leave"
No, it is an internal process. The employer may have a grievance policy in place which you would be expected to follow. Otherwise it is simply started by raising your concerns with her line manager and stating that she wishes to raise a grievance in connection with them
what action is taken largely depends on the employer - what their investigation reveals and what they feel is appropriate in the circumstances. It could result in disciplinary action against the member of staff who have been found to have acted in contravention of express or implied terms
I guess the main issue here is us needing proof and we can't prove who was told unless they are happy to admit it?
Not necessarily, the employer could interview other employees too, for example those who have been told this information and they could admit that they have heard it from these specific people
how can we be sure this grievance is fully investigated and taken seriously? What do we do if we feel nothing is either going to happen or has happened?
I mean they could come back saying "we found" nothing but didn't actually do anything?
An employer has a duty to deal with a grievance in accordance with the ACAS Code:
If they have failed to do anything about it then unfortunately the only other option left for her is to resign and claim constructive dismissal. As mentioned this is really a last resort though as it is not an easy claim to win and she will be giving up a lot in the process
Please let me know if this has answered your query or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?
I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you are unhappy for some reason with the advice - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you very much