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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Can I be disciplined for text messages containing offensive

Resolved Question:

Can I be disciplined for text messages containing offensive humour sent from my personal mobile to the personal mobile of another employee? They have become aware as his personal phone has fallen into their hands.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for? Has anyone complained about these texts?

Customer: Worked there for 8 years.
Customer: No one co
Customer: no one complained
Customer: But as my colleagues phone (personal one) has been taken they now know that we share juvenile humour which would be at odds with the companies standards.
Customer: albeit it was shocl
Customer: Shock humour
Ben Jones :

Ok thank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.

Ben Jones :

Many thanks for your patience. The company has to be quite careful about disciplining you here for this. It was a personal conversation which was only visible between you and your colleague. You both voluntarily engaged in it, no one has seen it apart from you (until the phone was seized but it was not actually distributed before that), no one has been offended and no one has complained. The company’s reputation has not been affected because clients or suppliers have not been made aware of this and even though this may go against company standards, they must still respect your privacy and freedom of speech.


 


Whilst there is nothing stopping them from disciplining you, they must ensure the reasons for doing so are fair and that a fair procedure was followed. Whilst the procedure may be fair, it is the reasons for disciplinary that would be tricky to justify and what you may challenge potential disciplinary action on.


 


You may challenge it either by raising a grievance first, or by appealing any decision already taken.


 


Hope this clarifies your position?

Customer: Thank you
Ben Jones :

You are welcome

Customer: Do the se
Customer: do the same
Customer: standards apply in private
Customer: sector and public? Ie emergency services
Ben Jones :

yes there is no distinction between the two. Hope this clarifies?

Customer: Thanks. That is everything.
Ben Jones : Great all the best
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