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Employees rights

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Emma-J | 13:41 Thu 02nd Feb 2006 | Body & Soul
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Is it a breach of your human rights or some sort of privacy laws if your employer 'bugs' the telephone?

My partner has been having problems with his employer for some time now, especially with his wages (we have reported him to National Minimum Wage Support Line), just this week his boss announced that they weren't to take any personal calls from the works phone anymore (I also would like to add I am nearly 5 months pregnant, so have been calling more than usual just lately).
Today whilst making a call to another garage my partner could hear this ticking noise and after looking he found a small tape device attached to the telephone.

His boss is already in some deep doggy doo because of the wage situation, but I was wondering about the Human rights side of things, surely if this machine is recording the whole conversation its a breach of some privacy laws?

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From what i gather it is illegal under the uk 1985 telecommunications act,


It is an offence to record your conversation without your knowledge, Thats why when you ring up most companys you are warned the conversation is beeing recorded.


ps, have you any proof that it was your boss that attached the device

I would try to gaet some evidence of the device attached to the phone witnesses etc.


I would get in touch with a union, CAB.


It is, as far as I know illegal, without informing the employee concerned that calls may be recorded. It is the if a company spies on the Internet Sites that employees visit.


Get some advice and confront the boss!

Question Author

Thanks Laurence2 and Electrochem, I did not know there was a law (shame on me, I work for a solicitors!).

My partner has actually seen the device himself, but as I said originally he is not sure whether it is recording conversations, how long calls are taking, or numbers being dialled.

He also told me that one of the other employees let slip that he had the phones tapped before.


I must delve further

Your reply makes me wonder whether you have missed an excellent point that laurence2 made. As well as knowing that the device was there, you really need to know whether it was fitted by the boss or perhaps by another employee as a prank. If this is important enough for you to spend money, your own employer will know a local investigator who could look into it. Meanwhile it would be useful to photograph the device and to look for any maker's name, model number etc., to help to establish what it actually does.


Question Author

Thanks Grunty, I will bear that in mind, I have told my other half next time he uses the phone, if there are other people about he should confront his boss, and say whats that ticking in the office, or whats that machine attached to the phone. We will see what happens anyway, and my boyfrined is looking for another job as well.


EJ

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