Fired For Using Company Phone To Talk With Colleagues During Working Hours

2021-02-16   |   by CusiGO

Maintaining good communication and working environment is very important to the welfare of employees. However, informal contacts can become a burden on staff productivity and even a reason for direct expulsion in the case of inappropriate use of company resources. This is borne out by a recent decision of the TSJ, which supports the dismissal of a female office employee because she has repeatedly called colleagues to talk about personal issues.

The woman, a representative of the workers, was pregnant and challenged the dismissal as discriminatory and a violation of her privacy. On the other hand, the ruling held that disciplinary measures were entirely reasonable, given that the code of conduct for companies (tax and accounting advisory) did not allow internal hotlines to be used for specific purposes.

As mentioned in the chapter “proof of fact”, the employee’s behavior has been very strange for several months. In fact, at the end of 2019, her boss saw her make many “very low-key” phone calls, so that other members of the office could not hear what she was saying. The human resources department decided to conduct a thorough investigation into the telephone conversation because of the suspicion of possible violations.

The survey confirmed that female employees working as administrative assistants spend most of the day discussing with another colleague in the same department issues that have little or no relationship with their work. Specifically, according to the human resources report, there were 11 hours and 47 minutes in September and 14 hours and 45 minutes in October, with an average of 7-8 calls per day.

When the management of the office heard about this, they fired two employees immediately, The basis of the notice letter issued on November 21 is that “the company forbids employees to use professional media for private purposes and warns employees that it is possible to supervise their work in order to control effectively His design. ” That is to say, they all violated their commitment to use the telephone in strict labor issues, and the employer decided to apply the most severe punishment stipulated in the workers Ordinance: immediate expulsion.

The conflict has been resolved. After reaching a settlement, the two dismissed workers challenged their dismissal in a Social Court in Caceres, claiming that their privacy and communication confidentiality rights had been violated (recognized in the Spanish Constitution of 1978), but the judge finally gave reasons And announce the source of EESC. At that time, one of the two office workers gave up the lawsuit and the other decided to continue the lawsuit and filed an appeal.

In the letter, she once again denounced the unconstitutional means used by the company to monitor its activities. She also said the management’s real goal was to terminate her contract because she was pregnant and a union member. Therefore, it requires that EESC be declared invalid and restored immediately No, However, the appellant’s argument did not convince TSJ of Estremadura that it did not see any “signs” of illegality.

The judges referred to the consistent case law of the Supreme Court that companies have the right to supervise employees’ use of the equipment they provide, But there must be a code of conduct, which is known to the staff as a whole, and the means of conducting the inspection are proportionate and necessary. In this regard, they believe that the company has fully demonstrated the infringement and there is no evidence of any form of discrimination.

In short, TSJ concludes that “the reason for dismissing the applicant is not because of her mother or her status as a representative of the worker, but because of the breach of contract mentioned in the letter of dismissal.”. This decision is uncertain and can now be appealed to the Supreme Court through a unified doctrine appeal.