Employees making personal calls on work phones

  • Employee Conduct
Peninsula Logo

Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

Read our article: 'Employees making personal calls on work phones'. Contact us today for more information about our Employment Law, Health & Safety, and HR services.

I have my suspicions and have got a tip-off that an employee has been making phone calls using company telephones during work hours, phoning other companies looking for jobs. Can I listen in to the telephone conversations?

Generally, employers need the consent of employees before they can lawfully monitor communications at work e.g. email, internet use, telephone conversations. To listen to your employee’s telephone calls without his consent is likely to be a breach of data protection legislation.

This is because monitoring is seen to be intrusive and employees have a right to expect certain levels of privacy, even at work.

This is usually overcome by employers including a clause in contracts that are given to staff which states that certain communications undertaken by the employee during the course of their work will be monitored. This usually is accompanied by a set of disciplinary rules stipulating that unauthorised use of email, internet and/or telephone will be treated as a disciplinary matter. This then sets expectations in the employee’s mind that, should they then behave in this way, that they have done something wrong.

If such a clause does exist in your documentation then you can rely on this to listen to the call to see if this provides evidence for your suspicions. You should be careful to narrow down your search for the call to calls made by this particular employee at the time you suspect the call was made.

If you do not have the employee’s prior consent to monitoring, you will need to be more careful with your approach. You could consider issuing a statement to all staff that personal calls are not permitted and any instances where this occurs will be handled under the disciplinary procedure.

This may hopefully be enough to make the employee stop making these calls.

Adding a clause to contracts of employment for new staff, and therefore gaining their consent to monitoring, should prevent a recurrence of the problem.

For any further clarification, please call our 24 Hour Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.


FAQs

Got a question? Check whether we’ve already answered it for you…

Related articles

  • hmrc legal fees settled

    Blog

    Emile Heskey settles £195k HMRC legal fees

    A long-running tax case worth £1.63m with the former Liverpool and England footballer has concluded with HMRC set to receive £194,794.42 in legal fees

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Dispute Resolution
  • four colleagues having a discussion

    Blog

    Let's talk politics (or not): what to do if a debate breaks out at work

    Political debates... to ban or not to ban? That is the question. If your staff break into a political debate at work, do you intervene? Or do you let them get on with it?

    Kate PalmerHR Advice and Consultancy Director
    • Dispute Resolution
  • neurodiversity

    Blog

    Top tips to support neurodiverse applicants

    Embracing neurodiversity can give businesses a competitive advantage. This is because neurodivergence is associated with higher levels of innovation, creative thinking, lateral thinking, highly specialised skills, and the ability to analyse strategically. For this reason, and because neurodivergence can meet the definition of a disability under the Equality Act 2010, it is important that employers support neurodivergent candidates through the recruitment process.

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Equality & Diversity
Back to resource hub

Try Brainbox for free today

When AI meets 40 years of Peninsula expertise... you get instant, expert answers to your HR and Health & Safety questions

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips that matter most to your business in our monthly newsletter.