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Contacting Employees in Their Homes

By: Matthew Strawbridge - Updated: 13 Jun 2022 | comments*Discuss
Employee Home Privacy Phone Office

It can be difficult for some people, especially those in demanding jobs, to maintain a work-life balance. Once they have left the office, they should be allowed to relax in peace without having to be on their guard in case a colleague suddenly gets in touch with a problem.

This article looks at the different mediums by which employees may be contacted in their homes, and discusses the privacy elements of each.


If it is necessary for a business to contact its employees outside work about a non-urgent matter, sending a letter through the post is probably the way least likely to raise privacy concerns.

Employees must be given the opportunity to opt out of receiving anything other than routine communication, such as pay slips, by this method. If the business has an internal postal system, this may be a cheaper, quicker and less intrusive method still for sending information to employees.


Many people object to receiving calls when they are trying to relax at home. People can sign up to the Telephone Preference Service if they do not wish to receive unsolicited marketing calls, but they may have a harder time filtering out unwanted calls from their workplace.

Unless employees’ contracts explicitly states that they must be available outside normal working hours, phoning them at these times is an invasion of their privacy.

Employees are perfectly entitled to withhold their numbers if they so choose. After all, they would be entirely within their rights to decide they didn’t wish to have either a land line or a mobile, in which case there would be no number to give!

Of course, if someone has received a company mobile, then they may be called on it when they are not in the office, even if they are on holiday or it is outside their normal working hours. This is acceptable if the person has agreed to be called in case of emergency, particularly if they are being paid to be on standby. Otherwise, they are within their rights to turn off a company mobile when they do not wish to be called, and have cause for complaint if they are phoned at home.


People can easily become addicted to sending and receiving email, particularly when they can do so from their mobiles. Employees need to learn to switch off, and not to access their work email remotely unless they really need to. Businesses need to instill a culture in their staff such that employees do not expect an immediate answer to emails if they send them out of office hours.

Visiting in Person

Perhaps the most outrageous invasion of an employee’s privacy would be for a colleague to call on them at their house without having been invited. It is difficult to think of a situation in which this would be appropriate behaviour; perhaps only if there were an emergency and the person making contact was completely sure that their approach would be welcomed, and then only after an attempt to get in touch with the person by all other means had failed.

An Englishman’s Home is His Castle!

People in this country are willing to put up with all manner of inconveniences in the outside world as long as they can retreat to their own properties, lock their doors and be left in peace. It follows that employees should only be contacted outside of work if it is strictly necessary and they have given their approval.

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I still live at home with my parents and phoned in because my dad had taken ill and had to be rushed to the hospital, so I wanted to be with him. My manager phoned me back and began questioning me as to why I was off, who I was going to the hospital with, how long I was going to be there for and then asked if I could maybe come in for a few hours later on in the day. I never phone in to work and I know of other members of staff who have taken personal days for similar reasons and they hadn’t been asked to come in to work when they rang in. Is this allowed?
Jayne xx - 13-Jun-22 @ 11:02 AM
My manager has just called me on my day off to say that the company tablet I used at work didn't 'send' the details they require. I have then had to log in and sync the tablet in the hope it sends the information. I find this unacceptable. Can I make them pay me for the day? The manager says he will call me back in 2hrs if the info doesn't arrive!!
Vino - 16-Mar-22 @ 3:36 PM
My manager has a horrible habit of contacting me at home. It is constant. I've said no to overtime and she still won't leave me alone.
Katy - 30-Jul-21 @ 9:00 PM
A week ago my manager phoned my mobile whilst i was relaxing at home before a 12 hour night shift. She proceeded to reprimand me for an oversight in comunication from my previous days shift. I was not too pleased with this and let her no that. I have since been suspended because of this call and my attitude to being called on my free time. Was she right to call me at home when i would have been on shift 2 hours later.
Nico - 27-Jan-21 @ 3:19 PM
My manager is currently off work due to covid, she keeps contacting me when I’m at home to arrange my remaining 8 hours of holiday! I have until the beginning of March to take this time off!
Lol - 8-Jan-21 @ 5:18 PM
My manager is a conjoined twin, can you use magic to travel back in time and separate us?
Big Dick - 1-Dec-20 @ 8:24 AM
I work for a supermarket as a delivery driver. On my rest days they are calling me to either swap shifts or go in on the day i am off. Is this acceptable behaviour.?
Fatgazz - 17-Sep-20 @ 3:20 PM
My manager txt me on my phone when I'm off from work regarding my course online plus she tell me if I'm not finished she going to contact HR, thank you
Cool - 16-Sep-20 @ 8:17 AM
Can a manager insist you turn on the webcam of your laptop during a call while working from home? Isn't this an invasion of privacy to be forced?
Phoebe - 3-Aug-20 @ 1:21 PM
My supervisor texts me my hours each week and has been doing so since january of this year. I've asked for it to be stopped so I can work set hours each week but it's been in vain, what do I do ?
Heidz - 1-Aug-20 @ 3:51 PM
my shift never over laps with manager. i have beenhas left notes with task and information . do i have to return a call from manager if i am scheduled to work later that same day
bubbles - 21-Jun-20 @ 8:39 PM
I receive messages reminding me to do online training for work on my days off, It spoils my day off and gets me anxious for my fallowing shift. I have 2 child at home I look after on my own and juggle work. Is this allowed? And the training I don’t get paid for doing it at home. What’s the best thing to do.
Abc - 1-Jun-20 @ 6:26 PM
Hi am a supervisor fea cleaning company iv broken my finger and unable to work as its my hand I write with so unable to even right my name any way iv taken the last two nights of work and got cover for the section so basically am of with an injury all the cleaners have worked there long then me and are quite able to work with out me there but last night iv reserved only 17texts messages not even related to work I should only be concerned in emgancy
Polly - 25-Feb-20 @ 3:27 PM
Looking for advice on what to do. So through the Easter holidays my childcare arrangements failed due to friend being poorly. I messaged the area manager to ask for cover for the week, my manager has said I failed to contact them and they haven’t given me any shifts for this week and said I may have some in the future. Is this allowed
Lelo - 21-Apr-19 @ 7:29 PM
I am on my last day of annual leave 14 days, it has come to my attention today after checking my phone that I have been contacted by my work 14 times throughout my leave. I am a manager and the things that I have been contacted about are trivial like an employee hasn’t shown up for work today. I am unhappy with this and wondered if I can claimed any of my leave back? Or even if my employee rights have been voilated someway?
Mrsk - 30-Mar-19 @ 5:47 PM
I’m currently off work sick with anxiety and depression as a few things have happened to me recently. I am off work with a gp note and on anti depressants. My manager has told me I have to ring up every Friday and tell them what I’m doing to get back into work which is hard for me anyway as I get anxiety talking about it. But when I ring it goes to a voice mail and I’ve been told that I have to stay by my phone all day on a Friday for when he rings me. This could be anytime between 2pm-10pm and if I don’t answer on the first call I’m not following the company procedures? I find it disgusting that I have to wait by my phone 8 hours a day until my manager decides to call me? Is this right?
Jg5437 - 8-Mar-19 @ 2:53 PM
I work in a store doing night shifts and my manager leaves messages on Facebook messenger at least once a day if not more is this harassment and can I stop her doing this?
SaraLaw - 10-Dec-18 @ 5:04 PM
I was emailed out of working matters regarding work by HR. Is this an infringement of my rights.
Doc - 3-Dec-18 @ 8:58 AM
I was contacted by text message that I had left the shop messy, employer knew I was on a long weekend break with family. I said she could waited till I returned on the Tuesday to tell me that. She said no that she wouldn’t at anytime. I am only a sales assistant and felt that tell the shop was left was very untidy was not important enough to spoil my break
Den - 3-Oct-18 @ 8:35 PM
@TM - It is standard procedure to ensure your successful return to work, that you will need to have a return to work conversation with your manager. You will also need to work with your manager to develop a return to work plan, and a plan for reviewing work and health.
GreGV - 13-Sep-18 @ 10:52 AM
I have been signed off of work by my doctor due to exhaustion and some anxiety which has been caused by work. My direct manager keeps getting in contact with me requesting updates, I have told him that I will be returning to work once my sick note ends this week. However he is still insisting on me having a phone call with him to discuss any updates regarding my return to work even though i have already given it to him. Can you offer some advice please as even the thought of having to deal with thi ps manager in giving me anxiety.
TM - 12-Sep-18 @ 1:39 PM
Sicknote - Your Question:
I have been on long term sick. My employer has been in constant contact asking me to attend welfare meetings occupational health meetings and even a company doctor meeting. At what point is this harassment? Is this legal?

Our Response:
If you are in England or Wales and you have been off work for four weeks or more your employer may refer you to the new Fit for Work service for a voluntary occupational health assessment. You can see more via the link here, where you can speak to someone regarding this matter.
EmployeePrivacyRights - 6-Sep-18 @ 3:27 PM
I have been on long term sick. My employer has been in constant contact asking me to attend welfare meetings occupational health meetings and even a company doctor meeting. At what point is this harassment? Is this legal?
Sicknote - 5-Sep-18 @ 11:16 AM
Ana- Your Question:
My workplace messaged me on my day off to come into work to cover someone who was ill. I confirmed I would come into work. I send them a message telling them I am on my commute to the store. 20 minutes later, as I’m arriving, I receive a message saying they no longer need me and I should go home. I still walked into the store and asked if they still needed me, and they said no and “thank you for your dedication. At least you can enjoy your time in the area”. I was wondering if this is an infringement of my employee rights as I did not get compensation and was made to commute to my work place unnecessarily?

Our Response:
You would have to speak to your manager directly regarding this matter in order to try to resolve it.
EmployeePrivacyRights - 23-Jul-18 @ 11:16 AM
My workplace messaged me on my day off to come into work to cover someone who was ill.I confirmed I would come into work. I send them a message telling them I am on my commute to the store. 20 minutes later, as I’m arriving, I receive a message saying they no longer need me and I should go home. I still walked into the store and asked if they still needed me, and they said no and “thank you for your dedication. At least you can enjoy your time in the area”. I was wondering if this is an infringement of my employee rights as I did not get compensation and was made to commute to my work place unnecessarily?
Ana - 21-Jul-18 @ 9:25 PM
@Lady2 - there is nothing to say your line manager cannot do this.
CCC - 12-Jul-18 @ 2:08 PM
Hello, With regards to a work related issues can a line manager ring your personal number from their own personal number when they have a work phone in the office and they are in the office on that day? I have not asked to be contacted and I don't feel like they should be ringing me from their personal number I feel rather creeped out that they now have my personal number on their personal phone?
Lady2 - 11-Jul-18 @ 2:23 PM
If you are an employee of a medical practice and your duty is to take phone calls at the reception desk. If another patient waiting in the waiting room overhears a conversation about another patient that they happen to know and gains information which then is repeated. where does the employee stand. ie: can they be fired? suspended? And surely the practice has a responsibility in ensuring that such conversation are dealt with away from the general public?
Loopy - 24-Apr-18 @ 10:11 AM
I have been working in care for the elderly for almost a year now, with the same company. They are a small firm that are struggling, partly due to short staffing, mostly because ofhaving no organisation, and the way they treat their staff. I have to explain a little about my rota and staff, I work 5 days a week, no full weekends off and a l w a y s help out when I can. I usually only do one waking night call in 2 weeks, the rest of my shifts are usually within normal working hours. My manager is a complete push over and pretty much lets office staff do what they want. Complaints go in one ear and out the other, and are never resolved or even taken seriously. Office staff talk about everyone behind their backs, making snide comments, even in front of other carers, they do as they please and speak and treat carers like they should have no lives outside of work. One issue that really has made me feel like I'm honestly going to go insane is that I have been covering quite a few waking night shifts, that I don't usually do, so of course I'm already slightly drained due to not being too used to covering nights a lot, and these will sometimes be for 13 and a half hours (7pm-8:30am) I will then have the next day off to rest, but the last week whilst I've been covering extra, I have been receiving call after call and texts in the morning when office staff will know I'm most likely sleeping, literally hourly or even less, and constant, to ask if I could cover shifts for the same day. I went on to inform my manager that I was not happy about this, and that I shouldn't have to explain that I need some sleep after a waking night call, and also let her know that I could have answered but see no reason that I should have to wake myself up to answer the phone and then not be able to get back to sleep again. She apologised and assured me she would let office staff know not to contact me when I am sleeping. Two days later I have the same exact issue occurring again, I go home from a waking night shift, and finally manage to drift off, to then be woken by constant calls and texts to cover the waking night shift for the same night. I eventually answered and said no to covering and thought that would be the end of it so tried to get back to sleep, but then started receiving calls A G A I N to cover the S A M E shift I had already said no to covering as it was supposed to be my days off. I then eventually (mostly out of exhaustion and getting sick of them literally begging me) said that I would cover it. Half an hour later, I get my new rota, and they wanted me to cover the waking night for 9 hours (10pm-7am) then go to another call at 9 am for 5 hours! They are absolutely c r a z y. I will be leaving and handing in my notice soon once I find something else, but I want to know what I can do to help prevent others going through this, what can I do to stop this company ruining people's lives and are they breaking laws? And what can I do personally about the
PK - 23-Mar-18 @ 8:17 AM
@RW Much depends upon whether the information is useful or not. For instance, with regards to rota changes or useful information that saves the employer from having to check in personally. However, you do not have to look at this outside your work hours if you feel it impedes upon your personal time.
Jules. - 8-Dec-17 @ 12:11 PM
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