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Archive

August, 2018

Reading employee’s emails – avoid the pitfalls

Posted on: August 30th, 2018 by Ginny Hallam

Investigating misdirection of data, establishing the facts of an employee dispute, understanding the route of poor performance – all reasons to monitor an employee’s work emails.

Before you take a look, check your contractual rights, your lawful basis and carry out an impact assessment. Damage to reputation, loss of trust, inadmissible evidence, ICO investigation and 4% of turnover fines might all be the outcome of getting it wrong.

Think carefully about your reasons for monitoring. If it is a good enough reason then you’re likely to have a ‘legitimate business interest’ to do so (but take advice). Generally it’s best not to rely on consent as it’s easy for the employee to withdraw. Carry out a separate ‘impact assessment’ to show you’ve considered the potential privacy risks and put measures in place to minimise those risks.

In practice:

Contracts – update your lawful basis from consent to the more robust ‘legitimate business interest’

• Policy – set out the circumstances under which monitoring may occur and what you’ll do with any information you find

• Assess the impact – use an impact assessment to ensure monitoring is kept to a minimum and the individual’s privacy rights are balanced with your interests

• Paper trail – document all searches and data retrieved as a result for your audit trail

• Afterwards – follow through on the measures you’ve identified to minimise the impact to the individual

We have a data protection toolkit available which can support you with getting the right policies in place and also contains a template impact assessment. Click here to find out more!

In’App’ropriate messaging

Posted on: August 23rd, 2018 by Ginny Hallam

Do you know how many different messaging groups exist among your workforce or what is being sent within them? The chances of groups spiraling out of control are all too real; pornography, confidential information, harassment and bullying  have all been witnessed under the moniker of ‘work’ chat groups.

Over recent months we have experienced a rise in employment challenges borne out of messaging apps. So what proactive steps can you take to protect business information, colleagues and your reputation?

In practice:

Policies – introduce or amend to clarify the parameters of what constitutes the appropriate use of messaging apps

Contracts – reserve the right to view groups and messages if you suspect wrongdoing, bullying, harassment or discrimination

On-boarding and exits – ensure employees understand your policies and are removed from the groups upon exit

Disciplinary – make clear that employee conduct within messaging groups is subject to the same disciplinary measures as it would be outside of the app

Evidence – remind employees that content and messages can be and will be used as evidence at tribunal

Moderator – include a manager in each group, or require management approval before engaging or setting up a group

Zero tolerance – extreme, but consider banning creation and participation entirely. Alternatives such as Yammer are available.

If you think that any messaging app may be, or is becoming an issue in your business, get in touch and we can support you in addressing the problem.