Unions have criticised the Royal Sun Alliance’s dismissal of 10 employees for circulating smutty e-mails as being excessive.
Sarah Veale, senior policy officer at the TUC, said, “The punishment was too extreme. A final warning which stated that they would lose their jobs if they re-offended would have been more appropriate.”
The Data Protection Code, which could be in force in three months time, could be used by unions to challenge employers which adopt a hard-line approach to e-mails, claimed Veale.
She added, “Employers are making the most of their powers under the law – the code should act as a check and balance to this power.”
The Royal Sun Alliance reportedly dismissed 10 employees and suspended a further 70 at its Liverpool branch for forwarding rude e-mails involving characters from The Simpsons.
The company claimed that it had a clear e-mail policy and employees were aware it would be rigorously enforced.
By Richard Staines