Hi,I am involved in an employment dispute with my former employer and have been accessing the office email account from home to see if they are dealing with the matter as it has been going on for months. They have found out and are threatening me with legal action. How much trouble am I in? I haven't copied or stolen anything from the account. They haven't given me a p45,a p60 or payslips.
I have contacted a friend of mine who is a solicitor and he has said they will use this as a bargaining chip and have contacted my union
1. It is a criminal offence to interfere with or to intercept another person's electronic communication. Accordingly, you have to be aware that you have by your actions left yourself open to a complaint being made to the Gardai. Given the circumstances, it is unlikely to be a serious matter, but if it were prosecuted, then you can expect a large fine and a dressing down by the judge. Additionally, you have also committed a tort or civil wrong for which you can be sued for damages. Again damages will not be large as your employer will not be able to show great damage. Thirdly, when you are taking your employment dispute, an allegation which is proved that you accessed the office email account unlawfully will create a very bad impression with the result that you are unlikely to get anything to which you are not clearly entitled. The matter cannot impact upon the issue of whether you are entitled to your employment rights, but it will create an impression that you are a loose cannon and not to be trusted.
2. SEcondly, if you haven't been issued with a P45 or P60, or payslips, you should get your solicitor to formally write to the employer and request them. Alternatively, if you do not have a solicitor, you should get your Union rep to formally write on your behalf and request them. Be aware that you can take the case before a Rights commissioner if the employer does not comply with the law and forward these documents to you, as in employment law, you have a right to them.
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Barrister 17 years experience
Thank you for your advice. Realistically am I looking at jail time for this?
Please see answer to other question
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