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Invasion of Privacy


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After a particularly bad day in work I posted my frustrations on a social networking site. I never mentioned the company I worked for, anybody involved or a particular situation, however a number of days later, while on holiday I got an email from my employer asking me to attend a disciplinary hearing based on the posts made on the site!!!! Attached to the e-mail were screen shots of MY personal profile, showing pictures and details of myself aswell as friends and family. It was not hard to work out that it was my male supervisor (who also had recently moved just 2 minutes away from me) that had taken these screen shots! He was listed as a friend on my account (as social networking sites are out of my employers remit of authority I never thought this would cause any problems), however he passed this information to the HR generalist and the office manager who were not listed friends nor would they ever be and had no right to view this information. I was completely astonished by this action and quit my job there and then as I could not be expected to work with someone that was monitoring my social activities. However I did ask that the screen shots be destroyed as they contained personal information the company had no right to and they have refused!! Does anyone know if I have the right to take action on this - would this have any data protection implications?

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I cant see why - your behaviour in public outside of work can be seen as gross misconduct (I believe).

 

A friend of mine was sacked for the exact same reason - he took it to tribunal, and it was upheld.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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After a particularly bad day in work I posted my frustrations on a social networking site Never a sensible idea!. I never mentioned the company I worked for, anybody involved or a particular situation, however a number of days later, while on holiday I got an email from my employer asking me to attend a disciplinary hearing based on the posts made on the site!!!! Attached to the e-mail were screen shots of MY personal profile, showing pictures and details of myself aswell as friends and family. It was not hard to work out that it was my male supervisor (who also had recently moved just 2 minutes away from me) that had taken these screen shots! He was listed as a friend on my account (as social networking sites are out of my employers remit of authority I never thought this would cause any problems), however he passed this information to the HR generalist and the office manager who were not listed friends nor would they ever be and had no right to view this information They have every right - you wrote about the company, and allowed the Supervisor to view this through having him listed as a friend - did he sign any agreement not to share what you allowed him to see?. I was completely astonished by this action and quit my job there and then as I could not be expected to work with someone that was monitoring my social activities. He wasn't - you agreed to him having access to anything which you wrote, and as a Supervisor, and presumably he felt a greater sense of loyalty to his employer. However I did ask that the screen shots be destroyed as they contained personal information the company had no right to and they have refused!! You only have a right to control 'sensitive' personal information. This was a rant which YOU released, effectively to the world, by putting it on a public website - even if you controlled who had primary access to this, you have no control over what your 'friends' do with it. Does anyone know if I have the right to take action on this - would this have any data protection implications?

 

Absolutely not. Whether 'friends' or otherwise, when you sign up for, and particularly when you post on, social networking sites, you agree to put information into the public domain, and if it can reasonably be determined that you have written about your employer - think about it, most of your contacts will know who you work for, and information will be passed about - then you could quite easily be seen to bring the company into disrepute. This is commonplace now and a large number of employers even 'vet' potential employees by looking them up on Facebook (photographs of people off their face every weekend is not a good idea!).

 

Outside of the matter of sharing the information that you posted, why on earth did you quit? For all you know you could have received little more than a slap on the wrist, and may even have avoided that if you could prove that you had done nothing wrong, yet now you may well be lumbered with a reference which states that you left whilst the subject of a disciplinary investigation - you might just as well have been sacked! Your argument is with the Supervisor whom YOU allowed to see what you had posted, not with the employer, and there isn't a hope in hell that a Tribunal would rule otherwise. Sadly this is a harsh lesson in being a little more careful about what you decide to put on a website, for it has caused you to put yourself out of work.

 

I sincerely hope that you find another job soon.

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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