Head teachers fingered in email snooping row

Information Commissioner asked to investigate

The Information Commissioner has been asked to investigate alleged email snooping at the offices of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).

Amicus - the trade union that represents 1.2 million workers - claims one of its members was suspended from the NAHT following the interception of a "private email" between two union officials. Other staff at the NAHT also face disciplinary action as a result of the alleged monitoring of email.

Amicus Regional Officer, Barry Jones said: "We take this matter very seriously indeed. The NAHT has no policy on email and internet use, and employees have been encouraged to use the e-mail facility freely.

"It is clearly totally unacceptable for any employer, without warning and in secret, to monitor or intercept e-mail traffic, still less to threaten staff with disciplinary action as a result."

Amicus' failure to resolve the matter with the NAHT has led the union to lodge a formal complaint today with the Information Commissioner "concerning the unauthorised and possibly unlawful monitoring and interception of employees' e-mails".

And if the dispute is not resolved Amicus has warned that it might ballot members for industrial action.

No one at the NAHT was available for comment at the time of writing. ®

Related stories

Database misuse: who watches the watchers?
UK firms must monitor staff IMs
Business school 'hack' raisesNSW bans workplace cyber-snooping

Sponsored: 10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity