04 May 2022

Work and WhatsApp

Submitted by SchoemanLaw Inc

We all loved WhatsApp when it first arrived; convenient and cheap messaging was here and it was here to stay.

But then employers started using it, and all of a sudden, we were dealing with unread messages, muting groups and fearing a WhatsApp message from a particular work colleague.

So do you as an employee or do you as an employer need to be careful with how you use WhatsApp? Simply put, yes! 

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997, as amended (“BCEA”)

The BCEA states that an employee may not work longer than 45 hours a week. And that an employee is entitled to a daily rest period of 12 consecutive hours and a weekly rest period of 36 hours, which include Sunday. 

Does this include not having to respond or be messaged during your non-working hours or days? It seems yes. Therefore an employee should not be expected to be available 24 hours a day to an employer and an employer should not feel free to contact employees whenever they want.

But we all know emergencies do emerge, and sometimes communicating on WhatsApp can ease the situation very quickly. So using WhatsApp messaging for work does have some perks.

Cybercrimes Act 19 of 2020 (“Cybercrimes Act”) 

The Cybercrimes Act creates offences for threats to people, categories of people and property through data messaging. This also includes sending personal work data to people outside of work through WhatsApp.

You need to be mindful of the content you share on your WhatsApp groups. One innocent joke can lead to a whole lot of legal issues. So be mindful of what you are sharing and to whom you are sharing this information.

Conclusion

In conclusion, keep your messaging legally clean and relevant, and try your best to keep your work-related messaging during work hours.

Contact an attorney at SchoemanLaw Inc for your legal needs. Visit our website at www.schoemanlaw.co.za.

SchoemanLaw Inc

SchoemanLaw Inc Attorneys, Conveyancers and Notaries Public is a boutique law firm offering its clients access to high quality online legal documents and agreements, together with a wide range of legal services. The firm has an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset that distinguishes it from other law firms. We apply our first-hand understanding of the challenges facing entrepreneurs (regardless of their business size) to develop proven, practical solutions incorporating legal compliance, risk aversion and business sense. We achieve this by offering clients tailored, yet holistic support comprising of legal gap analysis, the design of tailored legal solutions and the practical implementation thereof through training and automation. With your personal interests in mind, our ultimate aim is to implement measures that protect the results of your hard work as effectively as possible.