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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71383
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I am currently off work with anxiety. I have many concerns

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I am currently off work with anxiety. I have many concerns about the work place and the lack of confidentiality. My issues have been discussed with staff members that are not part of management. Many complaints have been made but the whole company (vets4pets) are sweeping things under the carpet and complaints do not get dealt with. I feel extremely anxious about returning to work as there are certain staff members that make being there awkward. My questions are 1 what can I do about the break on confidentiality?and 2 Am I able to resign and claim benefits till I find further employment? I have been informed that if I quit I won't get any help with benefits. Many thanks Charlotte Parish
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: The manager is part of the problem so have gone above her but all complaints are sent back to said manager. I haven't spoken with a solicitor.
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: Employee and unfortunately not in a union.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Hi there Charlotte. Please can you explain the issues surround confidentiality in some more detail? Also, how long have you worked for this employer please?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
I have worked for vets4pets wheatley since January 2017. The first break in confidentiality was when the manager informed a member of staff that I was going to put on a letter of complaint about her. She told her then insisted o came into her office to explain to the member of staff why I was putting a complaint forward. I was mortified so I reported it to people above the manager but nothing got done. The second time was only a few week ago when I put in writing to the manager my concerns about health and safety issues within the practice and reasons for taking time off sick, the same day the manager had discussed my issues with another employee that she is 'friends' with but is no part of management.
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
I'm really sorry I cannot afford that amount of money for a phone call.

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now; I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

With regard to the breach of confidentiality, the latest version of the Data Protection Act (DPA) is the current legislation on data protection. It outlines certain principles for individuals and organisations to adhere to when they process an individual’s personal data. Any information from which an individual is personally identifiable will amount to personal data. If a party has acted in contravention of the DPA, 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 organisation in breach to see if things can be resolved directly with them, without the need to involve anyone else. This would be done through a grievance.

If that is unsuccessful, the next step is to consider reporting this 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, such as imposing fines and sanctions. However, they will not award compensation to the victim so the only way to try and do this is by personally going through court.

What the ICO can do, if a breach is reported to them, is order the company to do any of 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

- impose severe financial penalties and fine the company in breach

In terms of leaving, you can resign and claim constructive dismissal. Benefits can be delayed by up to 26 weeks in the event of resignation but that is usually only if you resign without any justifiable reasons and in the event of constructive dismissal, you are arguing that you were practically forced out and it was not your choice, hence why benefits should not be affected as a result.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

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