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Wednesday, 20 January 2016 14:27

Personal IT privacy at work (case law January 2016)

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Personal IT privacy at work

 

A recent case regarding privacy at work has been resolved at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

 

The case:

The employee was using Yhaoo Messenger during work hours to send and receive personal and professional emails.  This was a direct breach of the company policy which clearly stated that it was strictly forbidden to use computer and other office equipment for personal purposes.  The company followed full investigation and disciplinary procedures and dismissed the employee for failure to comply with company policies.  The employee argued that the company had breached his human rights to privacy.

 

The ECtHR view:

The ECtHR found that as the employer had been checking on work related activities and subsequently discovered the personal activities, they had not breached the employees’ rights.  However, they did deem it be a proportionate interference.  They also made it very clear that employers do not have the right to access employees personal emails and that policies should be clear on what personal use is allowed and what monitoring will be conducted. 

 

Advice:

Following this outcome, employers are urged to review their IT and Social Media policies to ensure they are not in breach of privacy rights.  The policies must clearly state how much personal use is acceptable and what monitoring will be carried out. 

 

How we can help:

Our dedicated team of HR professionals and employment law experts can quickly review your current policy and update it where required to give you sound peace of mind.  If you don’t have IT and Social Media policies, we can easily create them for you to suit the needs of your business.  Contact us on 01382 250333 to see how we can protect you from future claims. 

 

The full case can be reviewed here - CASE OF BĂRBULESCU v. ROMANIA

 

Read 1448 times Last modified on Wednesday, 20 January 2016 14:41

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