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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I was told that if I did not pass on personal negative comments

Resolved Question:

I was told that if I did not pass on personal negative comments from colleagues about each other or the company or management, to the management, that was a sackable offence. please confirm?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
Customer:

5 years

Ben Jones :

Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I experienced some temporary connection issues and could not get back on the site until now. All appears to be resolved now so I can continue dealing with your query.

It is highly unlikely that an employer could be able to justify dismissing an employee if they refuse to pass on such comments to management. It is inevitable that any employment situation will have moments when someone makes a negative comment about someone else or the company to others but the law does not generally require employees to then go on and report these to management and not doing so would not usually amount to a disciplinary matter. On some occasions that could be expected, for example if someone is subjected to bullying or harassment in the process, let’s say you witness an exchange of words between colleagues where someone is insulted for serious matters, such as because of their race, gender or other sensitive matters and there could be an expectation that you would bring these issues to the employer’s attention so that they can deal with them and preserve a good and safe working environment. However, even then not telling someone should not amount to a sackable offence. It is nevertheless important to check your contract to see what, if any, requirements it contains on you to make such reports because if you are contractually required to do this then you would have agreed to it when you accepted the contract and not following these rules could place you in breach of contract. However, if your contract is silent on this, then it is unlikely that an employer could be able to justify taking disciplinary action against you and if they dismiss you then it is likely to be an unfair dismissal.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer:

Ben, thanks for your help. It is simply that I have let myself become an agony aunt for some people here and I just absorb what I hear and I happened to pass a hint on which led to an interrogation from the md. In all cases, the persons involved have not been talking to each other, just coming to me and saying I think he/she is a **** because..... happened. The party is not getting insulted to the face as it hasn't gone that far. Sorry for not being more clear earlier but I was in a bit of a state last night :)

Ben Jones :

No problem, I understand your position. My opinion remains the same tough - in these circumstances it is highly unlikely that an employer will be able to justify dismissing you, especially as you are protected against unfair dismissal. It is an unfair position to put you in - you are not going out of your way to gather all this information and then keeping quiet about it, people are coming to you and you should not be expected by the employer to become a 'grass' in this way. I would suggest talking to the people concerned and advising them that they are placing you in a difficult position with the employer and that you would request they do not share any sensitive information like this in the future

Ben Jones :

Does this clarify things further for you?

Customer:

Awesome, thanks

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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
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