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Employer did not breach right to privacy by investigating employee’s emails

The Claimant was a clinical manager for a NHS Trust. He formed a personal relationship with a staff nurse. The Claimant then suspected that the nurse had formed a relationship with a female colleague, which he resented.

Anonymous malicious emails were sent from various fictional email addresses to management. The nurse became concerned that the Claimant was now harassing and stalking her.

The employer investigated, and concluded there were items on the Claimant's iPhone which implicated him and linked him to the anonymous emails. He was dismissed for gross misconduct. His claim for unfair dismissal failed.

In the course of the employment tribunal proceedings he unsuccessfully argued that the employer had acted in breach of Article 8 (Right to Privacy) by examining matters related purely or essentially to his private life. The employment tribunal rejected this. It considered that Article 8 was not engaged on account that the emails had a potential impact on work, and dealt, at least in part, with work related matters.

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