Does this constitute gross misconduct

Discussion in 'Employment & HR' started by JohnJInnes, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. JohnJInnes

    JohnJInnes UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    I have an employee in my team who although he does not have access to some very sensitive information (ie, decisions about the future of the company) is certainly in a position to know that certain things are planned because of his proximity to senior staff and coffee machine chatter within a small and secretive group of people.

    Last week, during a phone conversation with other members of the team, he used the company instant messenger account to send a jokey message to another member of the team, in which he referred to this confidential information along the lines of "so mate are we selling this company (named) or not?"

    The problem arises because although the target of his message has an unusual name, there is another individual within a different part of the business with a similar name. And he messaged the wrong one (there are two letters different in the surname) In other words unintentionally a secret has been leaked (or more probably a rumour started).

    What is the position on this from a UK employment law perspective? Ground for dismissal?
     
    Posted: Jan 17, 2018 By: JohnJInnes Member since: Jan 17, 2018
    #1
  2. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    Posts: 8,231 Likes: 2,078
    If he has been given this supposedly confidential information as gossip, then it is hardly surprising that he has gossiped about it. I can't see the relevance of it being sent to the wrong recipient, if it was gossip, it was gossip.

    It seems to me that the organisation should be looking rather more closely at the source of his information.

    Unless he was given this information formally, as part of his duties, with the clear understanding that it was not to be disclosed, I can't see gross misconduct holding water.
     
    Posted: Jan 17, 2018 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #2
  3. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 6,353 Likes: 2,474
    Most men are hopeless at keeping a secret. If you intend to do something as critical and important as selling the company, that is information best kept between your ears.
     
    Posted: Jan 17, 2018 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
    #3
  4. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Coffee machine chatter - sensitive information.

    Suggest the chatterers are to blame here
     
    Posted: Jan 17, 2018 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
    #4
  5. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    Posts: 5,080 Likes: 498
    So people talk openly enough in front of those who are not supposed to be in the know about things? Openly enough / loud enough so that others can hear?

    Sounds like the gossip started before he used instant message.

    You want to take action against those who leaked the information to him?
     
    Posted: Jan 17, 2018 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #5
  6. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    Posts: 5,080 Likes: 498

    It's not that we are hopeless. It's just some of us can be persuaded with hot sex, a Rolex factory or such bribes.
     
    Posted: Jan 17, 2018 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #6
  7. obscure

    obscure UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 2,009 Likes: 427
    From what I can see he has done nothing wrong at all. He hasn't leaked confidential information just some gossip he over heard. The people talking by the coffee machine are the ones who have done something wrong.
     
    Posted: Jan 18, 2018 By: obscure Member since: Jan 18, 2008
    #7
  8. STDFR33

    STDFR33 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    I can be bribed with a pint of premium lager and a packet of pork scratchings.
     
    Posted: Jan 19, 2018 By: STDFR33 Member since: Aug 7, 2016
    #8
  9. ElisaLee

    ElisaLee UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 6 Likes: 0
    This is a top down action IMO. Managers of those chatting loosely by the water cooler need to caution them that need to keep confidential business matters private and not discuss them in earshot of other employees is essential and could lead to formal disciplinary action - 'lack of trust and confidence'. Individual employee should be spoken to informally at this stage too on a similar premise. If you have non disclosure agreements or confidentiality agreements then this should cover such issues
     
    Posted: Jan 31, 2018 By: ElisaLee Member since: Jan 31, 2018
    #9
  10. Gecko001

    Gecko001 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    I would sack him for using the term "mate"! As for spreading gossip probably not.
     
    Posted: Jan 31, 2018 By: Gecko001 Member since: Apr 21, 2011
    #10