Notification of Email Checks Required

Partner, Andrew Bryan, draws our attention to a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights concerning a company’s responsibilities in respect of their employee email policies. Andrew says “the ECHR ruling in case of Bogdan Bărbulescu could shape the extent to which firms can monitor employees’ private communications”. In essence, the court ruling says that not only must a company policy inform employees that they reserve the right to monitor employee emails, but they must also advise employees when they are doing so.

The case in question related to a Romanian man dismissed for using a company Yahoo messaging account to text his family. The company had presented Mr Bărbulescu with printouts of his private messages to his brother and fiancée on Yahoo Messenger as evidence of his breach of the company ban on such personal use. He had previously told his employer in writing that he had only used the service for professional purposes.

Although the courts found nothing wrong with the company's decision to terminate the employment, it found that Mr Bărbulescu's private correspondence should not have been intercepted because his company had not given prior notice that it was monitoring his communications.

This ruling comes after European data privacy authorities ruled that employers may not sift through workers' social media accounts unless for narrowly-defined, work-related purposes. In a guidance statement, they indicated that “employers should not assume that merely because an individual's social media profile is publicly available they are then allowed to process those data for their own purposes. A legal ground is required for this processing, such as legitimate interest."

Although the ruling has no direct effect in British or EU law, experts say that it will establish a significant precedent in the evolution of digital privacy rules at work.

Andrew comments: “companies need to review their office manuals and IT policies and practices as a matter of urgency in light of this ruling”.

If you would like assistance in relation to an employment matter, call Andrew on 02392 820747 for further information.

 

November 2017

 

Up to a third of user reviews on consumer websites are said to be fake. However, a landmark fraud ruling in the European courts has signalled a fight back to regulate the honesty of reviews.

More Info

Christopher Matthews comments on the collapse of Universal Wealth Management

More Info

Wills and Planning for the future

Research just published underlines how ill-prepared most people are in terms of their end of life planning.

More Info

Around-the-clock care set to double by 2035, according to study

According to a recent study published by The Lancet, it is estimated that in the next twenty years, the number of over-85s requiring around-the-clock care is set to double. 

More Info

Reviews

We’re proud to be associated with

  • The Law Society, Conveyancing Quality Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Children Law Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Criminal Litigation Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Family Law Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Family Law Advanced Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Lexcel Accredited logo
  • Solicitors For The Elderly Accredited logo
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners logo
  • Dementia Friends logo
  • Resolution logo