Considerations on the conditions under which the employer may monitor their employees at the workplace

Author:Monica Gheorghe
Position:University of Sibiu, Romania
Pages:62-69
SUMMARY

Recently, the European Court of Human Rights in the case Barbulescu v. România has ruled that the national courts did not ensure respect for the right to privacy in the employment relationship of an employee who had been disciplinary dismissed for using the internet and an IT application in the personal interest during the working hours, dismissal which was based on evidence obtained after the... (see full summary)

 
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Considerations on the conditions under which the employer
may monitor their employees at the workplace
Associate professor Monica GHEORGHE
1
Abstract
Recently, the European Court of Human Rights in the case Bărbulescu v. România
has ruled that the national courts did not ensure respect for the right to privacy in the
employment relationship of an employee who had been disciplinary dismissed for using the
internet and an IT application in the personal interest during the working hours, dismissal
which was based on evidence obtained after the employer had monitored the employee’s
electronic communications. The Court concluded that the national courts failed to strike a
fair balance between the employee’s right to private life at the workplace and the
employer’s right to supervise and control the work of his employees. Thus, the Court found
a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. In its decision, the
Court specified the criteria to be applied by the national authorities in order to achieve a
balance between the rights of the two parties (employee-employers). The herein study aims
to briefly analyze the case and to establish the concrete elements that employers should
consider if they intend to monitor their employees in order not to violate their right to
private life at the workplace of the latter.
Keywords: employee, employer, privat life, monitor, labor law.
JEL Classification: K31
1. The Trial Bărbulescu v. Romania
Recently, on 5 September 2017, the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the
European Court of Human Rights in Bărbulescu v. Romania was published. This
decision altered the first solution adopted by the Court on 6 June 2016. The case
concerned the violation of Art. 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
regarding the observance of the private life of the employee at the workplace,
respectively the observance of his correspondence.
In fact, the plaintiff, employed on a private-sector employer's job, was fired
because he used the internet network of the company he was employed during
working hours, in violation of the rules in the internal regulation prohibiting the use
of computers and other equipment of the unit for personal purposes. The employer
also issued an internal note alerting its employees that the use of personal
equipment by the employer is forbidden and that an employee has been fired as a
result of such an act. The employer monitored for a determined period the
correspondence carried on by the applicant on a private Yahoo Messenger account,
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Monica Gheorghe - Faculty of Law, „Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu, Romania,
monica.gheorghe@ulbsibiu.ro

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