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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47363
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My private emails have been accessed and information copied

Customer Question

My private emails have been accessed and information copied from saved emails received and sent are being used by my employer to substantiate Gross Misconduct and termination of employment without notice. My private email account has been accessed by an employee at the company where I worked I suspect by using a password ***** programme on my work computer. There are no rules in place that your own private emails cannot be looked at during work time. I s the evidence that they have gained this way (a) Legal and (b) admissible as evidence. Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi, I see it is 7.5 years, if you can please keep your replies on this page though rather than opening new questions that would be great, thanks. So this employee did not have the authority to access your emails?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi can you please not post your replies as separate queries rather just reply on this one page where all our correspondence is kept
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Is there a workplace policy which states that your employer can monitor your personal emails if they are on workplace systems?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
For some reason you are not, you post every reply as a brand new question (being charged each time as if you posted a new query, but don't worry as I have asked for a refund for these). So do not open any new questions, simply post in the reply box on this one single page please
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, Only if the private emails are sent through the business email system and address - nothing covering own private email address.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, that's better. Do you know who accessed these emails and also what is the nature of the contents that is being used against you?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, I do know who it is and the emails are in relation to private work that I have undertaken.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Would the work make you guilty of gross misconduct?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It would be debatable but for this purpose lets assume the answer is yes.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
There is a clear balance to be struck between the employer's need to gather information for the investigation and the employee's right to be treated fairly and reasonably so that there is no breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence. They should therefore avoid reading material that is obviously personal such as private e-mails and diary entries. Reading personal e-mails may also raise issues under the Data Protection Act 1998, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and the Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/2699). It may make the investigation and subsequent disciplinary unfair, even if the party may have been found guilty on the basis of such evidence. Therefore, the dismissal can become unfair and it can be challenged further if needed. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have on taking the matter further, should this result in dismissal, 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 I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks. If there are any doubts or evidence that the above requirements have not been satisfied, an appeal can be submitted to the employer straight after the disciplinary outcome is communicated. If the appeal is rejected a claim for unfair dismissal can be made in the employment tribunal. The time limit to claim is 3 months from the date of dismissal and the claimant needs to have at least 2 years' continuous service with that employer. A new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal. If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here: https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It has already resulted in dismissal without proper dismissal procedures being followed.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
when did that happen?

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