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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47863
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have had a complaint and my company want to read all my

Customer Question

i have had a complaint and my company want to read all my emails, even those not directly sent,cc'd or received from the person raising the complaint. What are my rights here?
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.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Please can you provide some more information so that I can advise you of your options. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i'm a university lecturer and a student complained about unfair treatment, resulting in their failing the course. There are now disciplinary proceedings being initiated.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK, thank you for your response and for the live phone call request. I am unable to talk at the moment but please do leave it with me. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks for your patience. It is a common occurrence in the workplace for employers to monitor the email and internet use of their employees. However, as electronic forms of workplace surveillance involve the processing of personal data, they are activities that will be regulated by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). In addition, the employer would need to adhere to the duty to preserve the mutual trust and confidence, a term which is implied into every employment contract.The DPA lists a number of principles which must be adhered to when personal data is being processed. These include:
• obtaining the data fairly and lawfully;
• informing employees of the types of monitoring that are being used;
• using the data obtained from monitoring only for a specific purpose;
• limiting the data to adequate and relevant data; and
• not holding the data for longer than necessary.The Information Commissioner's Office has also published Guidance that employer should adhere to. It states that the monitoring must be proportional to the needs for which it is done and should not go beyond what is reasonably necessary. Ideally there should be a policy in place to deal with this and outline exactly what the employer can and can't do in these circumstances.As long as the rules are clear, the employee knew that monitoring was taking place and the information gathered as part of the monitoring is used for the purposes for which it was initially obtained then it is legally for the employer to do so. However, for example, if the employer was monitoring emails to ensure there is no breach of confidentiality, but in the process finds out that someone has been guilty of some other act of misconduct, then they should be careful about using this information to take disciplinary action as it is not what the initial purpose of the monitoring was for and could breach the data protection principles.So in the first instance check any workplace policies to see what level of monitoring of your emails the employer can do and if their intentions are not covered by it, you can consider taking the matter further.This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have on challenging this if needed, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can we arrange a phone call soon, happy to pay, my issue is whether they have the right to demand and read correspondence in which the complainant is mentioned even though it is a private email between colleagues. I.e i may well have sent an email saying so and so is a pain in the backside...etc but to another colleague not to the complainant. No different from verbally venting one's frustration talking to a colleague, you don't expect one's chats down the pub to be monitored and handed over as evidence of harassment/bullying
They have asked me to forward all emails in which the complainant's name is ***** ***** not just all correspondence to and from the complainant.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Just replied on the new thread you started. I may be able to speak tomorrow but not sure yet, if not it may not be until Sunday. When I can I will accept your request, thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks tomorrow or sunday would be good as it's urgent,
Best,
Mike
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

please provide a contact number, thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
079 227 227 64
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

thanks will call shortly