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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 53207
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Iam currently on sick leave from work and have been signed

Customer Question

Iam currently on sick leave from work and have been signed off for a month due to some complications, whilst being off I update my manager as often as possible and have previously informed him that I would still access my emails from home to reply and still help arranging an event that I was part of before going into hospital, yesterday my manager called me to informe me that a request was made to m9 who deals with our emails/inter net the companies entire system to gain access to my work email in order to retrieve contact details for employers that I had collect before starting working for this company, I informed my manager how upset I was and also I felt that my privacy and been breached as all my medical notes/document I sent to my manager via my work email address, my manager informed me that as soon has he was made aware of the accessing of my email he instantly put a stop to it but this was a week later, have they breached my privacy rights and if so what can I do about it?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 months ago.

How long have you worked there for?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Since November 2017
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
3 days a week 22.5 hr
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 months ago.

Was there a specific policy in work which said the employer can do this if necessary?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I' am not entirely sure but I'm assuming that there isn't due to when my manager got wind of what was happening he immediately requesting for it to be blocked from access and a new password ***** to be sent out to me, I think the only policy maybe that once an employee leaves the company has the right to access the account.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
In addition to the above it wasn't my manager that had access it was a different manager and other members of staff
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
My personal employers list
My medical documentation
My work reviews
My 3 months probation report
Verious different emails they had access to without my permission
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 months ago.

Thank you. This is indeed likely to amount to a breach of data protection as they have accessed personal data about you without the right to do so or without your consent.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the new legislation on data protection and outlines certain principles for data controllers to adhere to when they process an individual’s personal data. If a party has acted in contravention of the GDPR, the person whose rights have been breached could potentially take things further and even seek compensation for damages.

The first step is to consider reporting the alleged breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). They are the regulatory body that deals with data protection breaches and have certain powers at their disposal to deal with them. However they will not award compensation to the victim so the only way to try and do this is by going through court.

What the ICO can do, if a breach is reported to them, is order the company to do the following:

- impose a temporary or indefinite ban on the processing of data

- force them to comply with your request

- provide any required information

- warn and admonish

- order rectification, erasure or destruction of specific data

In addition they can impose severe financial penalties and fine the company in breach.

If the victim wanted to take formal legal action, they may do so under Article 76 of the GDPR. There is no need to show that financial losses have been suffered and compensation can be sought for mere distress caused by the alleged breach. The level of compensation will depend on the severity of the breach and the effects it has had on the victim.

Whilst legal action is an option, I would not recommend that this is done straight away and suggest trying to reach some kind of compromise with the violating party. Use the ICO as well in the process if needed and report the breaches to them and only use court and legal action as a last resort. You can also raise a formal internal grievance with the employer as that is a formal complaint they need to deal with.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 months ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question? You can either reply on here with a quick ‘Yes, thanks’, or select 3, 4 or 5 stars on this page. I can still answer follow up questions if needed to clarify anything for you. Many thanks

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 months ago.

Hello, not sure if you are having trouble seeing my posts? Do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the response to your query? I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks