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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44867
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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If we have dismissed a member of staff for gross misconduct

Customer Question

If we have dismissed a member of staff for gross misconduct because we have found she has been actively looking for work during working hours and have evidence that she was not sick when she said she was not. She gace us permission to look at her yahoo account i a meeting last week that we recorded. (she was aware of the meeting being recorded). She is now threatening to take us to court for invasion pf privacy.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

JACUSTOMER-r3cwu8iq- :

Hi Ben

JACUSTOMER-r3cwu8iq- :

can you help me with employment law?

Ben Jones :

Was she there when you looked at her account?

JACUSTOMER-r3cwu8iq- :

No. We had a meeting last friday and had to suspend her pending an investigation. in that meetign she said she was happy for us to look at her linked in a yahoo. When we when to look at the office back ups she had been deleteing her search history and from there we were able to see emails she had sent during working hours from the work computer

JACUSTOMER-r3cwu8iq- :

in these emails we gained the following

JACUSTOMER-r3cwu8iq- :

evidence that she was not sick when she said she was

JACUSTOMER-r3cwu8iq- :

she has been passing on comapny information to third parites.

Ben Jones :

so these accounts were acccessible via company computers?

JACUSTOMER-r3cwu8iq- :

yes

JACUSTOMER-r3cwu8iq- :

because she has een using company computers to access her yahoo account on a daily basis

Ben Jones :

Whilst covert monitoring of employees' emails and internet browsing is likely to have legal implications, if you had specifically obtained the employee's consent to access their emails then the whole 'secrecy' of the monitoring is removed and they cannot claim that you had gone behind their back to access their personal information.

Also she may be threatening to sue you for invasion of privacy but there is no such claim in English law and it is not just possible to go to court to claim that. There are specific laws that may be considered to cover certain aspects of what one may find as invasion of someone's privacy but these are not easy to pursue and will be quite fact-specific, meaning they can only be pursued in limited cases and I do not see what she can realistically do this in this case.

So I would say that these are just empty threats and that any claim for alleged invasion of privacy is unlikely to go any further.

Ben Jones :

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

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