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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48162
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Is it illegal to access a company's application through an

Resolved Question:

Hello,
is it illegal to access a company's application through an administration account while on paid leave (redundancy selection is investigated and but personal accounts have been deactivated).
Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. Can you please explain your situation in some more detail I am not quite sure I understand the issues? Thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Ben,I work as a web developer and my company investigates my redundancy. All of my personal accounts were disabled (on client websites and company's internal systems). I am still employee of the company but do not have personal access to any of the systems of the company since I am on paid leave until the company decides if I am selected for redundancy.however, I accessed one of my company's clients applications using an administrator account which is used by all employees and is not my personal account.Afterwards I received the following email :"We are investigating the circumstances of your log-ins and actions taken. I require from you by return email a full explanation of exactly what you were doing, what actions you took and why.
Depending on the findings, our investigation may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. Any further breaches of instructions could result in the same."I was not specifically instructed not to log in in any application and was told that officially i am an employee of the company on paid leave.
My accounts were disabled with no notice and I lost access to work I did for years - samples of which - would be necessary for me to find new work.I am wondering if what I did was legal.Thank you,
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

So there were no formal policies in place which prevented you from doing this? In normal circumstances would you have done something like this in the normal course of your work?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
hello Ben,this is a normal procedure for all employees.I was selected for redundancy and then raised a grievance for discrimination in the workplace.Afterwards i received the following in an email:"since your complaints relate to the redundancy process, we will suspend
your redundancy consultation whilst the complaints are being investigated.
During this time you will remain an employee of VYRE Limited on your usual
terms, except that you will remain on paid leave as previously advised.
Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the redundancy process may be
discontinued or resumed."However, all of my company accounts were deactivated. I could not access the application I was working on so I accessed it with the administrator account.This has been performed multiple times by many employees and is completely normal, but I was on paid leave so I do not understand if I have breached any terms or broken the law.Could I give you a call so I can answer all your queries?thank you,
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

have made an offer for a call, let me know if you want to talk or continue on here please

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
let's continue here. Is there something else you would like to know?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

No thank you I have all I need. Legally you have not really done anything wrong. You are still an employee of the company and regardless of whether you are on holiday or going though redundancy or raising a grievance, your rights remain unchanged.

If what you did was a normal thing in your job and something that is not out of the ordinary, and also if it was not prohibited under any workplace policy or you were specifically told not to do, then it is not wrong. If the employer wanted to ensure you did not do it then they should have made it clear by issuing you specific instructions to request this. Alternatively they should have included this in a specific policy at work.

Had you left their employment and no longer worked for them and then accessed the system then that would have been a different matter. However, this is not the case here so they are overreacting.

I am also minded to think that there may be an ulterior motive behind this, although it is pure speculation. It may be that if you are potentially being made redundant and they have to pay you redundancy, they could be looking at ways of removing you through dismissal for misconduct by saying that what you did was wrong, thus avoiding having to pay you redundancy. As mentioned it is just a thought but monitor this carefully to see how they proceed and if they are trying to concentrate too much on this. I suggest you simply apologise for what you did, say that you did not think it was wrong in any way as you had not been told not to do it and there was no policy to say you could not do it. If they do try and use this as a reason to dismiss then it could potentially end up as an unfair dismissal and I can discuss your rights in these circumstances if needed.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Ben,sorry I have one final question. My notice period is one month. However as soon as I was selected for redundancy my accounts got deactivated. It is vital for me to have access to these accounts in order to complete my portfolio for work over the past 3.5 years.Is it not my right to have some time to finalise my work after I have been dismissed e.g. keep a track of the things I worked on while I was employed?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Whilst you continue being employed by them you should be allowed normal access unless the contract days they can deactivate them if you are serving notice for example. Hope this clarifies?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.

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