European Court of Human Rights ruled that employers can monitor online communication of their employees
Currently Russian courts are forming a unified legal position according to which an employer is entitled to monitor employees’ private messages and to dismiss them for correspondence using the company’s devices and during work hours. Recently this approach was supported by the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) in the Barbulescu v. Romania case.
According to details of the case, the company’s internal policies established a full ban on employees using company devices for personal purposes. Moreover, the employee was notified that the employer monitored the company’s resources as to compliance with the established ban and the possibility of dismissal for those who breach internal discipline.
Meanwhile, when monitoring the employee’s Yahoo Messenger set up for work purposes, the employer revealed the employee’s private messaging with his fiancée and brother during working hours, which became the reason for his dismissal.
Therefore, based on the ECHR decision, in order for a court to recognize monitoring of the company’s equipment as lawful and dismissal for improper use of company equipment as legal, the employer needs to:
1) establish in the company’s internal acts a full ban on using the company’s devices for personal purposes and to ensure the employee is familiarized with these regulations;
2) provide in the company’s internal acts the employer’s right to monitor the company’s resources provided to the employee on a regular basis as to compliance with the ban mentioned above and to ensure the employee is familiarized with such powers.
Since the employer fulfilled all these terms, the ECHR came to a decision that the employer did not violate the employee’s personal rights to confidential correspondence and privacy provided by Article 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and recognized the employee’s dismissal as lawful.
Should any questions arise in connection with the above or if you need any additional materials, please contact Irina Onikienko, Saint-Peterburg Office of Capital Legal Services.
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