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Disciplinary Query - Urgent Help/Advice Needed

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  • Disciplinary Query - Urgent Help/Advice Needed

    Hi,

    I'm hoping someone here can help with my query. Recently at work, a colleague of mine who works in my office took a personal document of mine from my desk without my permission and made a photocopy of it and handed it to senior management. For the record, it was a poem which had a political slant (containee some swear words too) on it - as a result, I am now facing disciplinary.

    I want to ask: did that colleague of mine breach GDPR by taking something from my desk without my permission? If so, which aspect of GDPR can I reference?

    That being said, I think my employer is taking me to task because of the content of the poem. It's not an inflammatory poem, nor does it incite anything sinister; it's a poem of empowerment more than anything.

    I feel aggrieved, as that document could've been anything - a bank letter, a hospital letter, etc. I feel like it amounts to theft of my personal effects, but I'm unsure where I stand legally.

    Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    I'm not sure how relevant it is, but I'll ask a couple of questions, anyway:

    1. Was this in plain sight on top of your desk, or tidied away inside a drawer - perhaps one where you kept other personal possessions?

    2. Was it inside a folder/envelope?

    3. Did you produce it whilst at work?


    I don't know about GDPR - I can't see the relevance - but it's a breach of copyright.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi 2222. Thanks for your reply. See below:

      1. Yes, it was in plain sight on my desk, but I had left it face-down.

      2. No.

      3. Yes, I printed it straight from the internet at work. It didn't flag up on my workplace's content monitoring tool either - usually when you try to access anything deemed inappropriate, it's blocked.


      When you say breach of copyright, what do you mean? Sorry got my ignorance.

      Thanks.

      Comment


      • #4
        "Yes, it was in plain sight on my desk, but I had left it face-down."

        Was there any explanation why your colleague was rooting through stuff on your desk? Was he legitimately looking for something, then came across this by chance?



        "When you say breach of copyright, what do you mean? Sorry got my ignorance."

        The way you put it, I thought this was something you had written yourself. Hence, you'd own the copyright. I gather that it was somebody else's work, so please ignore that point.

        Comment


        • #5
          Was there any explanation why your colleague was rooting through stuff on your desk? Was he legitimately looking for something, then came across this by chance?

          ==

          No explanation was given to me as to what my colleague was doing at my desk. I'll know more on Monday hopefully.

          It all seems to have been dealt with disproportionately - it's hard not to feel aggrieved.

          Comment


          • #6
            Don't feel too aggrieved. Somebody else will be along shortly who understands this better - hopefully! My thoughts are:

            1. You may have cause for complaint about how the document was found, but it's no defence against any wrongdoing on your part.

            2. Many organisations have rules about how you can use the office computers. If you have broken those rules, there could be sanctions. If this is a minor breach, the sanctions should be minimal.

            3. "It didn't flag up on my workplace's content monitoring tool " - no excuse, I'm afraid.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ula may pop in here

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for your insight, 2222.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Not much insight, I'm afraid. It's not my field at all. Good luck, and hopefully an expert will be along!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The issue of why your colleague was looking through documents on your desk will be one to ascertain at your disciplinary and may have some bearing on the situation. However, my view is always that if you want documents etc to be private and they are personal to you do not have them at work.

                    Does your company have a policy in regard to the use of it's property for personal use? Does your company have a policy with regard to personal use of the internet? This may be the issue that the company is considering in that you have breached these policies by printing off material from the internet whilst at work.

                    Also just want to make sure that you have been notifed of the disciplinary in accordance with the company procedure? Have you been given the right to be accompanied, given an indication of what disciplinary action may be taken, provided with all documents/evidence that will be relied on by the company and where you given adequate notice of the meeting to give you time to prepare your defence?
                    I do my best to provide good practical advice, however I do so without liability.
                    If you have any doubts then do please seek professional legal advice.


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