Feeds

HP email abuse dismissals unfair, says tribunal

Inconsistent

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Three workers at Hewlett Packard’s plant in Renfrewshire, Scotland, who were fired after sending or receiving e-mails of a sexual nature, have won a claim of unfair dismissal, according to local newspaper reports.

The tribunal found that HP had not been consistent in its response to abuse of the company's email system, according to the Metro, Daily Record and Evening Times coverage.

Lynsey Rankin, Richard Reid and Brian Graham were three of 100 people who had been caught under a company investigation into e-mail abuse. They were sacked, but others who had sent e-mails with a similar or more explicit content, were not.

According to the Daily Record, manager Robert Wilson had sent e-mails with sexual content (of a nature not disclosed in the reports) to Brian Graham. But Wilson was not punished because his mailbox was empty at the time of the investigation.

The employment tribunal ruled that the computer giant’s inconsistent approach to enforcing its e-mail abuse policy meant that the employees had been unfairly dismissed.

Reid and Graham have accordingly been awarded a full year’s pay in compensation, while Rankin is set to receive nine months' pay.

Robyn McIlroy, an employment law specialist with Masons, the firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, says the case highlights not just the need for an e-mail and internet policy, but also the need to enforce it consistently.

McIlroy commented: "This defence - disparity of treatment, inconsistency of sanction – is one which employees increasingly are seeking to rely on in such cases. This might be in fact one of the few defences open to employees, where an employer has a clear policy prohibiting the circulation of inappropriate e-mail, and can show that the employees concerned were aware of the potential sanctions for breach of the policy.

"It is essential, therefore, that such policies and sanctions are consistently applied and enforced - albeit that this will always depend on the individual facts and circumstances of every case."

© copyright 2003 OUT-LAW.com

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.