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

When is a bonus not a bonus..?

…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 […]

When is a bonus not a bonus..?

…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.

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