When is a bonus not a bonus..? - MLP Law

When is a bonus not a bonus..?

  • Employment Law
  • 21st May 2021

…when it’s actually a cyber-security test for employees! A recent email to about 2,500 staff at West Midlands Trains (WMT) made headlines when it referenced the pandemic, encouraging staff to access a link for a financial ‘thank you’ bonus.  The email informed staff that they would get a financial reward for their “hard work” during […]

By aleks

MLP Law

…when it’s actually a cyber-security test for employees!

A recent email to about 2,500 staff at West Midlands Trains (WMT) made headlines when it referenced the pandemic, encouraging staff to access a link for a financial ‘thank you’ bonus.  The email informed staff that they would get a financial reward for their “hard work” during the Covid pandemic.  But, if staff clicked the link for more information, they received a second email explaining “this was a test”.  WMT said the first message was designed to mimic tactics used by criminal gangs to try to get a company’s data.

Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) union have criticised the move as a “cynical and shocking stunt” and also called on the operator to apologise and deliver on the bonus to staff who “have made real sacrifices these past 12 months”.

Whilst staff are unlikely to be able to use the email as evidence of a contractual obligation to a bonus, it also seems unlikely that this approach by WMT will have done anything for staff morale or goodwill between the parties.

If you would like guidance on how best to implement good governance on issues like cyber-security or data protection in your business – without making headline news for all the wrong reasons – please contact the MLP Law Employment team at employment@mlplaw.co.uk or 0161 926 9969. Please also keep an eye out on our Twitter feed @HRHeroUK and for our regular blogs on all things Employment Law and HR.

About the expert

Stephen Attree

Managing Partner

Stephen is the Owner of MLP Law and leads our Commercial, IP and Dispute Resolution teams which provide advice on all aspects of the law relating to mergers, acquisitions, financing, re-structuring, complex commercial contracts, standard trading terms, share options, shareholder and partnership agreements, commercial dispute resolution, joint venture and partnering arrangements, IT and Technology law, Intellectual Property, EU and competition law, Brexit and GDPR.

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