NSW Breach of Privacy by New Manager?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now

Mrsheslop

Active Member
18 January 2016
5
0
31
My mother has just left her job as manager of a company. In doing so, the work laptop she used stayed at the company. My sister remains an employee of this company. In a private facebook message between my mother, my sister and another employee they were asking my mother some work based questions. Friday had just gone and the new boss of this company called a meeting with my sister and other employee and was using specific details that could only be obtained from those private messages and disciplined the employees for discussing work information to anyone no longer in the company, which was never before mentioned to them.

On trying to figure out how this new boss could have possibly come across this information, it became clear that it was done by using either my mother's old work laptop or my sisters existing work laptop and using the saved password to login to one of their private facebook accounts and read through this private conversation. Is this not a breach of privacy and isn't this illegal under Australian Law or Employment Law?

Not only that, it was not discussed in a business account that should have been accessed or monitored by the new boss, but that the information gathered then, in turn, was used to gain standing for disciplinary action.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
4,136
743
2,894
Sydney
The company's laptops, right?
If so, then theirs to browse as they wish.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
4,136
743
2,894
Sydney
...and no right to privacy of the kind you hope for.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
4,136
743
2,894
Sydney
God damn hey... people can get away with murder these days!! Lol
Not in the way you might think.
  1. If the work computer(s) belong to the employer, then the employer can examine them at any time.
    This includes remotely, such as by a Network Administrator or other technical person.
    It also includes forensically - you know that saying about "nothing is ever really deleted" ?
    That's pretty much true.

  2. People who stay logged in to computers that are not their own, and/or accessible by others, do so at their own risk.

  3. People leave their unsecured phones lying around too.

  4. If an employer wants to put key logging or other user tracking software on a laptop
    that they issue to an employee, then they are free to do that.
Lastly - your employer is entirely within their rights to expect you
to keep "company business" among "company people".