Areas of Law / Employment

A friend was recently disciplined for receiving a call at work from his girlfriend. The call, which was recorded by his employers, contained bad language and unflattering references to his boss. Should employees, and customers ‘phoning in, be warned if their calls are being monitored?

Not necessarily. Employers can intercept and monitor calls if there are reasonable grounds for believing that both the sender and recipient have consented to the interception. But even without consent, routine monitoring is permitted under the Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communication) Regulations 2000. This effectively allows employers to intercept calls to check for compliance with company procedures, to establish the existence of facts, to ascertain standards achieved, to prevent or detect crime, and so on. An employee’s employment contract may well cover the subject of monitoring and personal use of the phone.

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