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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45375
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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During a long term illness from work it would appear that several

Resolved Question:

During a long term illness from work it would appear that several of my work colleagues were following my wife and me and taking notes as to our whereabouts etc. They have now gone on to admit this in writing and have gone on to inform my employer. Is this a breach of some legal act or other?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Did you know that this was happening at the time?

Customer:

Absolutely not Ben.

Ben Jones :

It is not illegal to just follow someone and take notes of their whereabouts or general movements. I could leave my house now, pick a random person and follow them all day long, making notes on what they do, where they go and who they speak to, then go home knowing I have done nothing illegal. The problem would be if you knew that you were being followed at the time and despite you making it clear that you did not want that to happen, they continued. That would potentially amount to harassment and you would have had certain protection in the circumstances, but if you were oblivious to what was going on then if they kept their distance, did not disturb you in any way at the time and just took notes of your movements, then that in itself is not illegal.


 

Customer:

I see. so there is nothing I can do about this ?

Ben Jones :

The best chance you have is an internal complaint, perhaps claiming that your employer has breached trust and confidence by having its employees follow you without any due cause

Ben Jones :

So for example, a grievance can be raised with the employer

Customer:

I have already done so. They had kept the letters containing this information from me for 8 months even though I had requested them by subject access, and in doing so breached the DPA section 7(8) according to the ICO's assessment : quote " it is unlikely that the organisation complied with the requirements of the DPA section 7(8). "

Ben Jones :

I know but I think we discussed the rights on challenging the DPA issue last time we spoke?

Customer:

Ok. so there is nothing I can do ? according to the DPA I was of the understanding that I could claim for personal injury, well that is what my understanding with what the case officer informed me, but perhaps I have misunderstood.

Customer:

I have lost out both financially & through illness.

Customer:

I did say to my wife at one time that I felt that we were being followed, but due to my depression she thought that perhaps I was slightly paranoid, however on looking back we both can see that we actually correct in our assumptions at the time etc.

Ben Jones :

the personal injury claim will not be linked to the DPA breach or you being followed, I am not quite sure what part of the DPA you are referring to as allowing you to claim for personal injury?

Customer:

Well they refer to it as compensation. On their website www.ico.org.uk there is lots of material about it etc.

Customer:

So I can get up in the morning and follow my next door neighbour, take notes in a log book about where they are, and which house they stay in and make accusations about where they sleep on a particular night over a lengthy period of time, and then state that I should have stayed in that house that night and not in that house, and nobody can do anything about it. Surely Ben that is a total disrespect of anyone's privacy and breaks all decency and human rights? Please bear also in my mind that the person who along with his wife are being followed is suffering from severe depression. We both had a hunch it was going on, but due to my illness my wife, who is a senior nurse felt that perhaps I was suffering from paranoia. My GP maintains that was not suffering from paranoia. We did see, on several occasions one or two people looking around our houses, we had 2 at the time, and even felt that we were being followed from one to the other by car on several times.

Ben Jones :

You won't be claiming for personal injury but as mentioned in my previous reply, you can only make a claim for compensation if you can show you have suffered actual and direct losses as a result of the breach, so you must be able to link any losses suffered with the breach, which in this case is failure to disclose the documents.

Ben Jones :

as to the following behaviour, then as mentioned actually following someone and taking notes of their whereabouts is not illegal, what do you think private investigators do, the DWP do it all the time with alleged benefits cheats, they even take photos and videos of them

Customer:

Thank you Ben. You have been most helpful. I will consult with a solicitor on the ground soon. This has really devastated my life, but no doubt I will get over it.

Ben Jones :

Even then you can only claim harassment but you must have known it was happening and had made it clear you no longer wanted to be followed - having a hunch without any proof t all and only finding out later would not be that easy to claim

Customer:

Thank you.

Ben Jones :

You are welcome, and sorry if I seem a bit negative about it all, but obviously have to give you an honest and objective opinion rather than just give you the answer you may want to hear

Customer:

I totally understand that Ben. I am a minister of religion, and during my illness I have been accused of not living in the provided manse and moving to my own home. I actually stayed in both, 2 nights in 1 , 3 nights in the other etc. The followers maintain that I was totally moved out of the manse etc. hence the following and spying etc. which I mentioned to you. I feel that all of this has added to my health probl em, sever depression, and due to the lengthy time for the letters to be released to me through the action of the ICO, I was basically forced to leave my post and move to a long term sick scheme at half salary provided by my employer, the Church. I have lost my wealth and also my health as a result.

Ben Jones :

I understand it must be difficult but it is just that the law needs a direct link between cause and loss and often it may appear easy to link two things together at first sight, but in the legal sense they would be completely separate so that is the issue you may face here

Customer:

Thank you.

Ben Jones :

Most welcome

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45375
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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