A woman contacted the police after accusing bosses of snooping on her and scouring her Facebook site during her sick leave, according to Birmingham Live.
Credit Controller Hilary Long took leave from Gravity Credit Control while her father fought terminal cancer. She said that a director kept watch outside her home and scrutinised her social media messages.
Workers at the small company complained to bosses that Long had been “partying” and “living it up” while on leave, citing social media posts she had made.
Director Caren Crawford said she visited Long’s home three times in September 2016. In her report, tribunal judge Jane Hindmarch said: “On each occasion she recorded the claimant’s car was not on her drive, presumably because the claimant was away attending to her father.”
The firm maintained that Long’s work had declined and she had failed to keep them in the loop about her sickness leave. She failed to attend a disciplinary and grievance hearing after stating she was too ill to attend.
Police took no action over her accusation of harassment, but she was awarded £4,414 by a Birmingham Employment Tribunal which ruled she was unfairly dismissed.
The Information Commissioner's Employment practices data protection code warns that covert monitoring should not normally be considered by employers. “It will be rare for covert monitoring of workers to be justified,” it says. “It should therefore only be used in exceptional circumstances.”