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Work giving out phone number

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by shelly1984, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. shelly1984

    shelly1984 New commenter

    I'm off sick at the moment (pregnancy related) and today I received a text message on my personal mobile phone from the person who is covering me on supply asking me questions about the class.
    Now I don't mind helping them, the class is quite challenging, but I thought there were rules about giving out personal information. I'm not going to cause a fuss but I am a bit annoyed that they've given my number to a stranger.
    Should they have asked me first??
    Robak1991 likes this.
  2. atwoodfan

    atwoodfan New commenter

    I completely understand how you feel. And yes (unless work has provided / paid for a phone), your personal contact details should not be handed out.
    If you want to do something (without making an actual fuss - although you would be within your rights...) then perhaps send a polite email to your HOD requesting that your details aren't handed out without permission. You are off sick and need to be able to rest and recover, not field work questions. You could add if there is a method of communication you would prefer (or an acceptable time for them to contact you), or just request that permission is sought... If easier, you could wait until you are back and then do the same in person.
    In the meantime, consider not answering calls from numbers you don't recognise / school numbers and then you can contact / respond to messages when it suits you.
    Hope you feel better soon, and wishing you well with your pregnancy.
  3. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Why aren't they asking the line manager?

    I'm under the impression that you do not pass on staff details without permission. Or contact people when they're off sick.
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The school has put the supply in an awkward position as well. The school presumably gave the supply your number. I imagine - although I can only guess - that the school told the supply it was OK to call you and/or asked the to call you. So supply would have assumed you'd agreed to be contacted.
  5. shelly1984

    shelly1984 New commenter

    Yes I don't blame the supply at all, they did say in the message that the person who gave them the number (one of our office staff) said I wouldn't mind. I'm just a bit shocked that it was passed on without permission, especially since we've recently had training on the GDPR rules.
    I replied anyway to help, I was just curious if they should have done it or not.
  6. shelly1984

    shelly1984 New commenter

    I'm thinking they did ask and they were probably directed to me. Some of the questions I doubt my line manager would have been able to answer, but certainly my TAs could have done.
    Work are calling me weekly to ask how I am and if I feel able to return early, which I know they're not allowed to do either!
    annascience2012 and caress like this.
  7. 43Meadows

    43Meadows New commenter

    Staff are definitely not allowed to give out personal info such as a phone number without the consent of the person whose details have been sought. They should have contacted you and asked for your permission first ( if anything) preferably by email unless you are in regular contact with the school anyway. It is, as said, a breach of GDPR.
  8. bonxie

    bonxie Lead commenter

    This is definitely a breach of GDPR rules unless you've specifically given permission for a particular person to be given your personal information (this includes your phone number). Who the school gives that information to is up to you, not the school. While you are off sick, you should not be receiving questions about work and you should ignore any texts you receive.

    The school should also not be contacting you during pregnancy and asking whether you 'feel able' to return early. They ought to be well aware that if you are on medical leave the school would be in breach of health and safety if they encourage you to go back to work before you and your doctor have deemed you fit for work. Your health and your baby's life are far more important than whether a school can get a supply teacher or not and how well any supply teachers are coping with your class.
  9. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    The only contact should be the managing attendance policy style ‘keeping in touch’ wellbeing style checks. The style and timing of these usually agreed between line manager and employee. Of course they can ask you how you are.

    The school should not be contacting you regarding cover / arrangements for classes when you’re signed off sick.

    The school should not be passing on your personal number.
  10. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Not so sure about that - it isn’t clear cut.

    The employee provides contact details to the employer and the employer can use those details to contact them if they have a legitimate business related reason for doing so. There is no rule that only named individuals in the organisation can make such a call.

    The fact that that a supply teacher isn’t an actual employee of the organisation does murky the waters a bit though...
  11. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Established commenter

    Why do I have to rip the front pages off all my classes school books because their names are on them due to our stupid GDPR policy, but your school seems to hand out mobile phone numbers ***** nilly?!
    twitterbix, strawbs and ridleyrumpus like this.
  12. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Actually the correct thing to do would have been to form a reply by email and send it to the school,eg the school office or your HoD, indicating that you would like the response forwarded to this supply person, and expressing surprise that she held your personal contact details. You could have taken that opportunity to also request that they refrain from giving out your number in the future.

    If you had managed that, the school will have been lucky to have this useful information at all, since you are not technically obliged to contact at all if off sick.

    By responding to this supply person you are validating the opposite.
    annascience2012 likes this.
  13. bonxie

    bonxie Lead commenter

    Giving a personal phone number to a supply teacher so they can ask about a class is not a legitimate reason for contacting someone who is off sick. It has nothing to do with the health and wellbeing of the person off sick.
    agathamorse and ridleyrumpus like this.
  14. GeordieKC

    GeordieKC Occasional commenter

    Surely with regards to GDPR, whether a breach has occurred depends on how the number was obtained and the statements that were made by the school regarding how the number would be used.

    I suspect including any form of confidential or personal student information in a message from a personal phone to a personal phone of an unknown person would contravene school policies and possibly GDPR?

    My suggestion would be to email the person who apparently gave out your number, asking them to confirm if they really did give your number to a supply teacher you do not know, and clearly indicating messages should be sent via school email which you will check when you feel well enough.
  15. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Blatent GDPR breach.
    MissGeorgi likes this.
  16. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    They can only process that data for reasons agreed to, passing that data onto a third party would be very unlikely to be covered.

    If the school dialed the number and passed the phone over, maybe.

    If the school handed a third party your personal phone number then that is almost certainly a breach, I can only see it not be if you agreed to handing out your details ***** Billy.
    twitterbix likes this.
  17. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The supply teacher is unlikely to be a 'third party' for GDPR purposes. Supply teacher is likely to be an "employee", if directly employed, or a "worker" if employed by an agency. As either an employee or a worker the supply teacher is under the direct authority of the data controller - the school - while working there as a supply teacher so is deemed not to be a third party both under the GDPR Regulation [Chapter 1, Article 4, paragraph 10] and the Data Protection Act 2018 [Schedule 9, paragraph 6 (3)].

    Whether OP authorised the school to use her personal mobile number to contact her isn't clear, and that is relevant to GDPR, but she may well have done - she presumably provided it to the school for some purpose or they wouldn't have had it.

    More serious and more relevant is whether, in what circumstances, and by what means, the school can contact someone who is off sick. There's no specific law about that and it's got nothing to do with GDPR.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
    annascience2012, Pomza, IanG and 2 others like this.
  18. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Ru sure that a supply teacher is under direct authority of the data controller etc?

    If they are they wouldn't they be considered an employee for IR35 purposes?
  19. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I'm no expert on IR35 but from other posts on here about it I understood that there is no way a supply teacher could ever be a self employed person under IR35 (or for any other purpose). The headteacher directs everything a supply teacher does - hours of work, lesson to be taught, what (SoW) is to be taught, place of work, requires compliance with all the same policies and procedures as permanent employees, etc, A supply teacher cannot substitute someone else to do the work for them, carries no financial risk, is paid a flat rate per day and does not have to provide their own equipment (ie doesn't have to supply the pupils with desks and chairs and IT or hire their own classroom to teach in).

    There are differences between employee and worker status but in both cases the work done is under the management control of the organisation they are working for. (Strictly speaking an employee is also a worker, but a 'worker' with additional rights and responsibilities - https://www.gov.uk/employment-status/worker )
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
    IanG likes this.
  20. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I think you need to speak up about this. If the office woman does this again and gets reported, your school would be looking at tens of thousands of pounds fine. Just email her herself, and let her know you hadn't given permission for this.

    "Hello Miss M, I hope you are well, just to let you know that I was contacted by mr K on my personal number yesterday! I have no idea who sanctioned this, but I would be very grateful if you could discretely find out, and remind them of the GDPR rules - Please don't let anyone else know what happened, it would be awful if we got fined.Thank you so much
    phlogiston, Jazztess79 and mothorchid like this.

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