Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

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Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby whoopsie » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:16 pm

I hope someone will be able to help me on this, cos I've got myself into a massive mess.

I need to be a bit vague with some of the details, cos I don't want to make the same mistake twice...

I work for an outsourcing company. We provide a service to quite a few household names. My problem starts here:

Last Thursday, I received a phone call from the client director on the account that I work on. She told me that on Wednesday afternoon, the company confirmed and announced that they had terminated their contract with my company. I was off sick at the time, and was the last person to know as everyone else on the account had been told on a conference call the day before. Anyway, she told me that there was a 3 month notice period, which would end in march and there was a scheme that we could possibly be scoped for (Tuppii?). She didn't reassure me however, and a few other ppl on the account I spoke to were also concerned about mortgages, bills, etc. Anyway, I told my family, as I was upset, but none of them seemed particulary concerned. On Thursday evening, I wrote on my Facebook status that I was going to lose my job and no one cared. A bit dramatic I know, but I am completely naive to redundancy and redeployment etc.

Anyway, as Facebook users will know, you can comment on status updates, and a few people did, one asking why I would lose my job. In hindsight, I should've been more discreet, but I replied "XYZ have terminated their contract with my company and if there's no jobs internally then I could be made redundant". Another girl on who worked the account also commented, and we had a brief conversation about how shocked we were, what we were going to do, that we were going to start looking for other jobs etc. After that, I thought nothing more of it, especially as I have changed the privacy settings so that most of my colleagues can't see status updates etc. I didn't realise they were posted to my wall tho... (I think you may be able to see where this is going...)

A few days later, a lady who also worked on the account added me. On wednesday this week, she called me, thanking me for adding her and then went off on how I should be careful what I write as people can get in trouble etc. She went through my profile with a fine tooth comb. As I was speaking to her, I deleted the entire thread, so that no one else could see it (And amended the privacy settings so she couldn't either).

Yesterday, completely out of the blue, I was bundled into a meeting room with my manager, the HR manager and someone quite high up who proceeded to give me a severe telling me off, saying that because of what I had written on my facebook profile, they had to announce it, (why wouldn't they do that anyway??) and I had worried quite a few members of staff, putting others in difficult situations not knowing if they should report it or not, and that within hours, Senior management (inc the Company CEO) knew about it. He kept asking why I had done it, like I had an ulterior motive and was being malicious by writing it. They told me I will have a formal disciplinary meeting next week and need to prepare a statement etc.

I know that I could've been more discreet, and facebook isn't really the place to have those kind of conversations, but I was told by the Client Director that it had been announced and at no time did she tell me that it was to remain confidential. That is my profile page, and I wasn't gossiping, I was talking about my feelings and opinions towards factual information. I have looked at my Companies disciplinary procedure and if they see this as me disclosing confidential company information, then that is Gross Misconduct and grounds for immediate dismissal.

The people I have spoken to about this think that it has been blown out of proportion and some think that I am being stitched up because redundancies look bad on a company so they might find reasons to dismiss me or force me to resign.

What happens if I am sacked? It will be on my reference when I find a new job.

Please could someone help me?!
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby dipsydoodlenoodle » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:40 am

I wrote my whole reply then it got blocked by work. I'll try and remember what I wrote.

If you were told the information had been released then you did nothing wrong.
If you weren't told the information was confidential then you did nothing wrong.

I don’t see how one little person could have made the company release a statement…(exaggeration on their part by FAR).

If they have released the information I’d get a copy of it (newspaper/internet etc) with the date on it and then get a copy of your f.book account wall with the date of the status report on it (if you still can) and if your date is after their date and they act on it, it would be unfair dismissal. Even if they were going to make everyone redundant, I’d push the issue for your CV purposes.
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby whoopsie » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:43 pm

dipsydoodlenoodle wrote:If you were told the information had been released then you did nothing wrong.
If you weren't told the information was confidential then you did nothing wrong.


I definately wasn't told it was confidential, and she told me that the company had announced it, although I can't find anything on their website. I deleted the comments from my facebook on Tuesday this week, so can't pull any info from there.




dipsydoodlenoodle wrote:I don’t see how one little person could have made the company release a statement…(exaggeration on their part by FAR).


I agree with this (and I am very little lol!!!)

I think it might come down to how leniant the company want to be with me. I've not been through a disciplinary (with this company) before, so hopefully that will work in my favour, but at the end of the day, if they see it as gross misconduct, they can sack me. :cry:
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby dipsydoodlenoodle » Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:04 pm

Is there nothing in the newspapers?

Keep an eye on their site; if they don't release anything then "one little" person didn't make them release anything.
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby whoopsie » Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:39 pm

No, I don't think it's big enough news for papers!!

My company are saying that because of what I wrote, they had to announce it to us.
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby Bel Bel » Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:57 pm

scapegoat springs to mind
basically write your statement as your paragragh

whoopsie wrote:I know that I could've been more discreet, and facebook isn't really the place to have those kind of conversations, but I was told by the Client Director that it had been announced and at no time did she tell me that it was to remain confidential. That is my profile page, and I wasn't gossiping, I was talking about my feelings and opinions towards factual information.
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby dipsydoodlenoodle » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:07 pm

whoopsie wrote:My company are saying that because of what I wrote, they had to announce it to us.


Gotcha. However how did you know to write about it if it wasn't already announced?
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby whoopsie » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:12 pm

dipsydoodlenoodle wrote:Gotcha. However how did you know to write about it if it wasn't already announced?


Because the Client Director called me while I was off sick to update me. It was then that she told me the company had announced it the previous afternoon.
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby Bel Bel » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:13 pm

so put that in your report
shame you deleted the conersation with the other girl as that would have been evidence other people knew
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby whoopsie » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:54 pm

I'm annoyed also, because they called me into that meeting on a Friday afternoon, leaving me to worry about it all weekend and worry about coming back today. I still haven't received a meeting request or anything in writing which they are supposed to do, so I guess they will leave my disciplinary till Friday, leaving me worrying about it all week. I'm also annoyed that they apparently knew for a week before calling the initial meeting.
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby whoopsie » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:00 pm

This has gone from bad to worse. I got an email this morning at 11am to notify me that my disciplinary hearing is tomorrow at 9am, less than 24 hours notice. They also want to talk to me because I left the office early after being told of my disciplinary (I was crying my eyes out, shaking. I was not in a state to work and asked a colleague to let my manager know as I didn't want to walk around the office crying my eyes out). And also, apparently there have been 'performance issues' that they wish to discuss.

I've struggled to find a representative, there is no way I would have time to organise someone from a Union. They have moved me back onto my account, where there is no work so I will be sat here doing nothing.

I can't be bothered. I hope I do get sacked cos then I won't have to come back to hell!!!
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby Bel Bel » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:32 pm

get in contact with Citizens Advice TODAY and ask them for advice
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby dipsydoodlenoodle » Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:11 pm

Bel Bel wrote:get in contact with Citizens Advice TODAY and ask them for advice


AND the union ASAP.
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby whoopsie » Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:57 pm

I don't know which Union supports our company. It doesn't say in my contract or the company handbook.
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Re: Disclosing confidential information? HELP!

Postby Bel Bel » Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:30 pm

not all companies have union representation
ask your hr department
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