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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45305
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am very frustrated about being falsely accused, and the company

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I am very frustrated about being falsely accused, and the company policy states that there is no punishment on anyone who raises a complaint / dignity at work, I would like to know if I can take legal action to prevent future complaints, especialy with regards XXXXX XXXXX access and reproduction of my emails which have caused "upset"

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded. For now please let me know what have you been accused of and what action has the employer taken against you?

Ben Jones :

Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded. For now please let me know what you are being accused of?

Customer:

The complaint against me is that I have exchanged emails with a work colleague which have caused offense to a team member, who, without my knowledge, was given 2 days access to my email account 2 years ago, and has maintained access ever since. The emails do not contain any offensive, discriminatory or unpleasant words they simply ask if projects have been completed before allowing this person to undertake a secondment into another team.

Customer:

I have been interviewed by an independant investigator, to explain the emails, as has my colleague who I have exchanged emails with. My line manager has received the draft report from the investigator and has made it clear that he wants a swift conclusion. My works email account has also been "scrutinised" to see if any further exchanges have taken place which would affect other team members. (none found) and HR and my boss are meeting this afternoon to discuss what steps to take next. I am the team manager, and I do not want the team member who has been snooping in my email account back on my team as I do not trust her. I doubt that the company will take action against her for what she has done, and I would like to know what I can do myself with regards XXXXX XXXXX of privacy and human rights so that I can prevent future episodes by PA's and amend the company policy too.

Thank you for your patience. Unfortunately there is little you can do to prevent future complaints from being made, you cannot 'gag' others from complaining if they want to. However, at the same time it does not appear that the employer has acted fairly in this matter because they have given someone access to your email account without your consent and without any clear and specific policy allowing them to do so they could be acting in breach of data protection regulations and also breaching the implied term of mutual trust and confidence which exists in every employment relationship.

You also cannot take legal action for invasion of privacy or breach of human rights, because not only is this unlikely to be relevant or succeed in this case but also will be complex and expensive and not something I would recommend.

This is really a matter that needs to be pursued internally, such as by following the internal grievance procedure, or if that does not appear to resolve it, you would need t consider the constructive dismissal route through the employment tribunal. It is the most appropriate way of dealing with this, not by going through complex and uncertain legal proceedings in relation to breach of privacy, which will unlikely succeed.

I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating. Your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you
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