A user’s clip on TikTok has gone viral and sparked discussion after alleging that her manager read her private messages and forwarded them to other co-workers.
Employers reading worker messages is nothing new. Earlier this year, a TikTok user virally warned employees that their employer can, in certain cases, read their Slack messages, even those that are considered private.
Now, an Australian TikToker has alleged that she experienced a similar privacy violation after lending her manager her personal laptop after her manager’s laptop broke.
“She read my messages with my boss and sent them to other staff,” says TikTok user Ocean (@oocean.e) in a video with over 883,000 views as of Friday.
In response, the TikToker then sent a message to her manager confronting her about her actions, calling what she did a “massive invasion of my trust and privacy.” She followed this up with a clip from the film Zootopia.
In the comments section, many users stated that Ocean should pursue legal action.
“That’s a lawsuit baby,” a user said.
“Get that employment law attorney, pretty sure there is a big bag there,” another offered.
“Bruh, reach out to your HR ASAP & a employment lawyer – you could be entitled to a payout for something like that especially with proof,” detailed an additional commenter.
Australian law is a bit complicated when it comes to monitoring employee devices. In short, “it is legal for your boss to monitor and track your work-related tasks and performance while at work; whether working from home or on site,” explains Hall Payne Lawyers. However, WorkTime notes that this is only allowed if “employees are aware and consent to the monitoring.”
“According to Australian employee monitoring laws, it is required to communicate with employees about what kind of monitoring will be used when the monitoring will start, the nature of the monitoring, and whether the monitoring will be for a specific time or ongoing,” explains author Jemimah Suemo. “Also, the Workplace Surveillance Act (2005) stipulates that an employer may NOT monitor employees without prior written notice. The written notice must be provided at least 14 days before the monitoring starts.”
Regardless of the law, Ocean later posted an update saying that she received an apology and the issue had been resolved internally.
@oocean.e Replying to @Demi Spencer ♬ original sound – ocean
“[The manager] replied in half an hour with a full line apology and I forgave her,” Ocean details. “That’s it. Everyone’s f*cking asking and it’s a boring story.”
In a TikTok direct message exchange with the Daily Dot, Ocean said that she was not going to pursue further legal action as “I’m too lazy to go through all that sh*t.”
Although she says the manager denied some of the actions for which she was accused, and that there are some lingering workplace issues following the incident, Ocean states that “the apology was all right” and that she herself simply “couldn’t be bothered being mad for any longer.”
Also, “the meme I sent to her is the funniest thing ever,” Ocean tells the Daily Dot.
Commenters were quick to question Ocean’s decision to let the incident slide.
“Keep those receipts so if you ever need to contact an employment lawyer,” a user stated.
“Aaaand see you in six months when she does it again,” a second wrote.
Still, some were content with the resolution.
“The internal conflict of having wanted a juicier follow-up but also being happy you got an apology,” joked a commenter.